Carlo Ancelotti’s future as Chelsea manager was thrown into doubt Monday amid reports he is considering leaving the club in a dispute over control of the team.
The British media reported that Ancelotti, who came to Chelsea 18 months ago from AC Milan, feels his authority has been undermined and he has consulted the League Managers’ Association about his position at Stamford Bridge.
The Italian manager is reportedly unhappy at losing control of team affairs after the club’s board made the decision to dismiss assistant coach Ray Wilkins and replace him with Michael Emenalo on the instigation of Russian owner Roman Abramovich.
Following Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at Birmingham, Chelsea’s third loss in four Premier League games, Ancelotti acknowledged he is competing from a much weaker position at the club compared to Alex Ferguson at Manchester United.
“You cannot compare me with Alex Ferguson – it is a different position,” he said. “Ferguson has total control of the team whereas I am in charge of the technical direction.”
The Italian, who came to London in the summer of 2009, has a year and a half left on his contract at Chelsea.
Ancelotti won the league and FA Cup last season in his first year in English football. His team started this season well, too, by qualifying for the knockout stage of the Champions League with two games to spare and storming to the top of the Premier League, where it has remained all season.
The Blues, however, have struggled in recent weeks, losing to Liverpool, Sunderland and Birmingham in the space of 14 days. They also have injury problems, with key players John Terry and Frank Lampard currently sidelined with injuries.
Ancelotti has said Chelsea’s poor run of results – which has left it level on points with United but still top of the table – has nothing to do with the departure of Wilkins, with whom Ancelotti enjoyed a good relationship, but rather his team’s lack of cutting edge up front.
Managers at Chelsea have had to get used to decisions being made over their heads in areas such as recruitment of coaching staff and certain player transfers. Jose Mourinho, who led Chelsea to back-to-back titles, left the club in 2007 after three years in charge following a deterioration in his relationship with Abramovich.