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Chelsea v Wigan Athletic: Preview
Published : 08 Apr 2011 20:56:02Rss feed
Carlo Ancelotti insists his job as Chelsea manager des not depend on turning around the club's Champions League quarter-final against Manchester United.
Wednesday night's 1-0 first-leg defeat to United at Stamford Bridge has left the Blues in danger of finishing without a trophy for only the third time since Roman Abramovich's takeover.
On both other occasions, Abramovich sacked the manager, despite Claudio Ranieri and Avram Grant leading the side to the Champions League semi-finals and final respectively.
Ancelotti was recruited because of his reputation as a European Cup specialist but a second-round and quarter-final exit in his two seasons in charge would suggest the club had gone backwards, rather than forwards, in that competition.
But the Italian was defiant today about his own job prospects, saying: "I don't think the decision on my future at the club rests on whether or not I win the Champions League.
"The club knows me very well, knows my behaviour, and they will take their decision on that. Until now, the support is totally 100%. I don't have a problem with this."
It's back to Barclays Premier League duty for Ancelotti on Saturday, with basement-club Wigan providing the opposition.
The former Milan boss is not expecting an easy encounter, saying: "This will be a different game.
"Wigan played very well and didn't concede last week against Tottenham.
"Our aim is to win, to score one more goal than the opponent, and to play good football."
Wigan manager Roberto Martinez expects his strikers and Chelsea's "bargain" #50million signing Fernando Torres to hit form soon.
The Latics have struggled in front of goal all season and, like Torres, are anxious to start scoring as the season draws to a close.
Wigan have struck just 29 times this season - the lowest total in the competition - and have just seven games to preserve their top-flight status.
Torres' troubles are more personal as he is still waiting for his first goal since his headline-grabbing move from Liverpool in January.
Martinez said: "There has been a lot of things said about Fernando Torres but it is quite clear he is going to be a fantastic signing.
"I feel he is going to become a bargain for Chelsea.
"It is always difficult to move from one club to another halfway through the season.
"He is still settling in and still adapting to a new football club but Fernando Torres is one of the best strikers in European football and that is a real asset to have.
"Going to Stamford Bridge is a difficult game for anyone in the league or European football, but I feel we are excited and we have nothing to lose.
"Our goalscoring is an area we want to improve but we have created enough chances and are getting into good positions to score goals.
"As long as you create the chances and get into good positions, the goals will come.
"The way the players have been working on a daily basis that bit of luck is going to come and I will always measure our goalscoring ability by the chances we create rather than the goals we score."
Despite being written off in many quarters, Wigan are just three points behind 14th-placed Blackburn.
Martinez knows a good run of results could see his side pull away from the danger zone and he is convinced his team are playing well enough to do that.
The Spaniard, whose side have collected four points from their last two games, said: "I just feel that in the last seven games we have really clicked as a team.
"I think we have developed really strong partnerships on the pitch and a real understanding and chemistry.
"It is a real shame we haven't got another 30 games to go because I feel all the hard work is finally paying off.
"We are quite clear facing the challenges we have got. We are going to enjoy that.
"We have got 21 points to play for and I have great confidence we are going to get enough points to have another successful season."