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Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti lays defensive blame at door of Ricardo Carvalho
Published : 21 Oct 2009 22:38:50
The demotion of the central defender was pointed. There was no injury just a loss of form which led to Branislav Ivanovic being pushed alongside John Terry and Juliano Belletti making a first start of the season in his preferred position of right-back. Even the most cursory review of Chelsea's errors at Aston Villa last Saturday, conceding two goals from corner kicks, will have provided glaring evidence that Carvalho was at fault. Related ArticlesChelsea 4 Atletico Madrid 0Carlo Ancelotti backs 'risk-taker' Petr CechAncelotti has no problem with Chelsea player power'Chelsea must stop leaking goals'Ballack reveals Chelsea's inquestSport on televisionHe was not the only one but he was the one culpable in both goals and has struggled in recent matches to repay the faith the Chelsea manager showed in him. It had appeared that Carvalho would leave in the summer. Chelsea were prepared to sell him to Inter Milan to reunite with José Mourinho but though talks were advanced, no fee was agreed. Carvalho stayed. During Guus Hiddink's brief, stellar reign Alex had been in favour and though the Brazilian has been injured of late Ancelotti had, nevertheless, restored Carvalho as Terry's defensive partner. With Alex now close to full fitness, having scored and impressed in a reserve team game earlier this week, then Carvalho is in severe danger of an extended run watching rather than taking part. The temptation, with Blackburn at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, and the set-piece threat they pose, will be to leave him out again. For an £18.6 million defender, acquired by Mourinho as a tutor, as much as a partner, for Terry, on Wednesday night will have hurt. There was no niggling injury or doubt to hide behind though Carvalho did point to his foot when questioned by his international team-mate Simao before the start of the second half. Against quick, elusive strikers such as Diego Forlán and Sergio Agüero, Ivanovic looked a little lumbering and although Agüero was offside when he slipped away in the opening minutes it was still a moment of alarm. He slashed his shot into the side-netting. Forlán also showed his threat with Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech whose own form has been in question after mistakes against Villa and Stoke City saving sharply from a header and then the Uruguayan striking a half-volley which the keeper turned away. With such a strike-force, Atlético Madrid were never going to be a great threat from set-pieces and did not force their first corner until the 40th minute which was easily dealt with. But Chelsea were quicker, stronger and better organised they clocked up the goals while Atlético's resistance crumbled. If Chelsea have defensive concerns then they are relative. Atlético are shambolic at the back and were constantly exposed. Their only consolation was that Didier Drogba was suspended but he will be back in two weeks time. The question is: will Carvalho also?