Carlo Ancelotti pays for trying to please Roman Abramovich

24 May 2011 01:40
ShareCarlo Ancelotti was first off the team bus when it rolled to a halt at Chelsea's training ground in Cobham at around 9.30pm on Sunday.

He wanted to shake his players and staff by the hand and thank them for their efforts during his two years at the club. Ancelotti had been fired at Goodison Park a few hours earlier and was locked in various conversations on the journey back.

His intention had been to bid farewell, wish people luck, then head for home. An hour later he was in the Plough in Cobham, having a pint with John Terry, Ashley Cole and Frank Lampard, coach Paul Clement and some of the medical staff.

Smoked out: Ancelotti is captured sneaking out for a cigarette at London nightclub Whisky Mist

A couple of hours further into the night and the same group could be found in Whisky Mist, an exclusive Park Lane club, where the Black Eyed Peas were DJ-ing earlier in the month.

It was an impromptu leaving bash for a likeable man at a venue which can boast the likes of Prince Harry, Robert de Niro, Jay-Z and Beyonce among its customers.

This was typical of Ancelotti - an affable man who values comradeship, and who promised no tears when the axe fell. Someone comfortable enough in his own skin to roll up at one of London's swankiest venues without an unbearable feeling of self-consciousness.

All change: Ancelotti was a hero just 12 months ago after delivering the club's first Double

In short, a decent guy. Maybe too decent? No one in the Chelsea dressing room will criticise him as a human being but there were players who had started to lose touch with Ancelotti as a manager during the season which ended with Sunday's defeat at Everton.

They were the ones who feared he was reluctant to fight their battles with owner Roman Abramovich and the board, that his key plan was to avoid any confrontation with the owner.

It started last summer, when the manageraccepted a decision to rid the squad of five senior players and promotetalented but raw youngsters from the academy.

Final straw: Ancelotti's last game in charge was the 1-0 defeat at Everton

Ancelotti is understood to have been most reluctant to accept the release of Michael Ballack but the German went and his instinct proved correct. With Lampard soon out injured for four months and Ramires slow to settle in English football, Chelsea lost the midfield power which had become one of their trademarks.

Again, when assistant manager Ray Wilkins was fired, the manager seemed unhappy but kicked up little fuss. Ancelotti learned his survival skills under a demanding owner working with Silvio Berlusconi at AC Milan, but the football culture in Italy is different.

Players accept that the owner calls the shots. In England, the manager is supposed to have the power, although this may be shifting.

Blind faith: The players became disenchanted when Ancelotti insisted on fielding players to appease Abramovich

Questions were again raised in some corners of the dressing room by Ancelotti's determination to accommodateDavid Luiz and Fernando Torres in the team after their arrival in January.

Ancelotti tinkered with his system and moved Didier Drogba away from centre forward, in an attempt to coax Torres into form, but it did not work and irritated players who thought Manchester United could still be caught at the top of the Barclays Premier League.

There was no outpouring of dissent as there was under Luiz Felipe Scolari. Torres and Luiz have been accepted as talented players and Ancelotti is respected but this creeping suspicion that he was acting to satisfy the owner, rather than acting in the best interests of his team, ate away at another of the strengths of modern Chelsea - their attitude and unity.

Wielding the axe: Abramovich is once again searching for a new manager

This was reflected on the pitch. The Italian's assistant Bruno Demichelis is expected to follow the manager, which could spell the end of his Mind Room, the psychology unit at the training ground.

So is fitness coach Giovanni Mauri and Italian opposition scouts Luigi La Sala and Giorgio Ciaschini. Sporting director Frank Arnesen is bound for Hamburg.

He is taking several scouts with him from Stamford Bridge and has shown an interest in signing some of the club's young players including Jeffrey Bruma and Patrick van Aanholt, who signed a new four-year deal at Chelsea yesterday.

Senior players are expected to leave too, including Nicolas Anelka, Jose Bosingwa and Florent Malouda, all of which clears the decks for Abramovich to start his biggest restructuring programme since he bought the club in 2003, with significant changes to the coaching, scouting and academy departments.

It would be in tandem with further investment in new players and any plans would hinge on the identity of the new manager, with Guus Hiddink appearing to be ready to step in.

As the players disappeared for holidays and international duty yesterday, due back for pre-season training on July 4, captain Terry suggested they try to learn from this season's disappointments.

He said: 'We haven't won anything but we certainly will be back stronger and we have to learn from where we went wrong. Everyone needs to go away and look at themselves as individuals, as a squad and where we can improve.

'It's OK when things are going well but everyone must take a good look at themselves, have a good break. It's the first time in a while we've had three or four weeks off and then make it work. We must start very well.'  Mourinho hints at Chelsea snub as Special One eyes future with MadridCarlo's key games: The results that cost Ancelotti his job as Chelsea managerEverton 1 Chelsea 0: Ancelotti waves Blues goodbye with a whimper All the latest Chelsea news, features and opinion

 Explore more:People: Jose Bosingwa, John Terry, Robert De Niro, Frank Arnesen, Michael Ballack, Fernando Torres, Frank Lampard, Silvio Berlusconi, Ashley Cole, Didier Drogba, Roman Abramovich, Jay-Z, Nicolas Anelka, Carlo Ancelotti Places: London, Italy, United Kingdom

Source: Daily_Mail