Chelsea are sleeping now, says Ancelotti

AP, Tuesday 28 Dec 2010

Chelsea manager urges his team to snap out of a form slump

Song & Wilshere celebrate While Essien & Kalou look during their EPL match on Monday (photo: AP)

Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti has urged his team to snap out of a form slump that has extended its winless streak in the Premier League to nearly seven weeks following a 3-1 loss at Arsenal on Monday.Chelsea has not won any of its past six league matches, causing its slip to fourth in the standings, a point ahead of Tottenham. Its last victory came against Fulham on November 1.

Ancelotti said his team had trained well during a two-week break caused by bad weather ahead of the game at Emirates Stadium.

"It wasn't enough obviously," the Italian said. "We didn't play well in this game. We were not focused 100 percent. Now we are sleeping. This is the reality of this team. We are sleeping. If you play against a good team as Arsenal, you can lose if you don't wake up." Ancelotti was less certain when asked if owner Roman Abramovich might lose patience and fire him.

"I don't know," Ancelotti said. "He will not be happy about this moment. I have to take my responsibility. This is not a question to ask me, 'How long will he be patient?"' While Abramovich has a reputation for being ruthless with managers, he may base his decision on the team's performance in the Champions League. It's the one trophy that Chelsea has yet to win since the owner took over.

While Jose Mourinho won the Premier League twice, his team could not get beyond the last four in Europe. His successor Avram Grant was fired despite reaching the 2008 final, and Luiz Felipe Scolari struggled to steer Chelsea out of the group stage before being dumped by Abramovich.

Guus Hiddink's temporary fourth-month stint in charge ended with FA Cup glory, but Chelsea was denied a spot in the Champions League final by a late Barcelona goal.
Abramovich then hired the man who has won the trophy twice this decade with AC Milan.

But Ancelotti has a more pressing problem _ Chelsea's next Premier League match is Wednesday against Bolton, in sixth place and only two points behind last year's champion.

Chelsea could drop out of the top four and the Champions League places.

"Our difficult moment continues and we have to think about the next game against Bolton," he said. "It's not easy, but we have to try." Chelsea started the season well, with five straight wins.

But Ancelotti said a subsequent string of injuries to several key players, including John Terry and Frank Lampard, and Didier Drogba's bout with malaria has negatively affected his team.

"I think that we were in a difficult moment without our important players," Ancelotti said. "I think that at the time we lost confidence in our play.

"(But) I have confidence that the players with fantastic character, with fantastic personality can change something. I want to help them to change."

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