In every job there are clear targets and objectives, which as an employee, you are expected not only to
achieve, but to exceed. Failure to do so can result in costly consequences as Carlo Ancelotti has realised in the wake of his Chelsea team succumbing to an unacceptable 1-0 defeat at 10-man Everton.
The defeat at Goodison was the final straw in what was ultimately a poor season for the Blues. It is my belief however, that the decision to part company with the Italian was made way before the disappointment on Merseyside but actually on the evening of April 12th, across the M62, in Manchester.
A 2-1 defeat against Sir Alex’s men effectively ended Ancelotti’s tenure in charge of the Premiership’s reigning champions as he wasn’t able to deliver on his most important product line, the Champions League trophy.
Blues Billionaire owner, Roman Abramovich, has made it well-known of his desire to win the most coveted tournament in club football is the benchmark for succeeding. This is precisely why Ancelotti was lured to the club two years ago – to achieve the holy grail of European glory.
The Italian boasted an impressive record of two previous Champions League wins as manager of Italian giants AC Milan, and also collected two winners medals as a player. It was this experience and ability that Abramovich sought, with clear expectations set to Ancelotti that these successes were to be replicated with his Chelsea superstars.
In the two attempts made at Champions League glory under Ancelotti, Chelsea only managed to get as far as the Quarter-Final stage, losing all four legs across two seasons against Inter Milan and Manchester Utd respectively. Two teams Ancelotti should’ve known inside out.
In turn, this was regressive form in the competition for The Blues, after reaching the Semi Finals in 2009 and the Final in 2008. Form that was noted by Abramovich, who subsequently saw fit to wield the axe over the sixth manager in his 8 year reign at Stamford Bridge .
Ultimately, in the matches that mattered to Abramovich, Ancelotti and his team didn’t deliver. The Italian’s main objective, failed. And for that reason, he had to go.
Couple this, with my belief that Ray Wilkins had a significant role to play in Chelsea’s double winning season of 2009/2010, you start to question what positive influence Ancelotti brought to Stamford Bridge.
Firstly, Ancelotti was unable to communicate effectively in English in his inaugural season in the capital, relying heavily on Wilkins to manage training sessions and match-day issues. Ancelotti commented on this fact in his recent autobiography: “Without him, we couldn’t have won a thing,”.
This statement is justified after Wilkins left the club back in November of last year in controversial circumstances, failing to win an extension on his contract. Chelsea went on to win only 5 of the next 16 games, scoring only 19 goals and accumulating a mere 20 points out of a possible 48 points.
This run of results resonated with Chelsea Chief Executive Ron Gourlay, when he spoke of Ancelotti’s position at the club in March: “Carlo has a contract until end of 2012,”
“Let’s see where we are at the end of May then we’ll judge the coach and other people at the football club.”
Gourlay re-affirmed the club’s ambitions by stating: “We understand it’s difficult to win trophies every year. However, we also know it’s very important for the club to be competing in latter stages.
“We’ve invested lot of money in the academy and in the playing side. This is a pressure you have to live with day-to-day if you want to be at Chelsea.”
Ancelotti wasn’t able to live with the pressure outlined by Gourlay and subsequently followed in the footsteps of predecessors Avram Grant and Luiz Felipe Scolari, politely being asked to leave the club before completing their designated contracts.
It will not surprise me if Chelsea’s next appointment as Manager is a man who is already on Roman Abramovich’s pay-roll, former Russia Manager, Guus Hiddink. The likeable Dutchman impressed in his short tenure as Chelsea’s Temporary Head Coach in 2009, with a win ratio of 73%, a record which surpasses that of a certain Jose Mourinho.
Of course only time will tell if he is the right man to deliver the elusive Champions League title to Stamford Bridge. An achievement that would undoubtedly satisfy his success hungry employer.
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