Taking the Chelsea job was never going to be easy for Carlo Ancelotti. He still doesn’t speak much English and he is going to have to adapt to the pace on the Premier League pretty quickly.
Ancelotti arrives at Chelsea with a pretty decent pedigree having led Milan to two Champions League successes as well as finishing runner up once. However, Luiz Felipe Scolari had a similarly impressive record and we all know what happened to him.
The Brazilian World Cup winning manager has no doubts about what upset his time at Chelsea. This is what he had to say to the O Globo newspaper: “The real owners of football at the moment are the players. The coach, in most European clubs, has no strength to contradict them.”
“The people sacked are always the coaches. The main players already know this.”
“That was my problem at Chelsea. (Didier) Drogba, (Michael) Ballack and (Petr) Cech did not accept my training methods or my demands.”
Whether or not this is true I don’t know for sure, what I do know is that these rumours about Drogba and Ballack in particular keep surfacing and I’m inclined to think there is ‘no smoke without fire’, as the old adage goes.
For Ancelotti to be successful he must either reign in the problem players or replace them. With Cech and Ballack this may not be so difficult, I’ve never been overly impressed with the German midfielder and Cech looked uncomfortable at times last season. Replacing Drogba will be nearly impossible, as on his day he can be the best striker in the world. However, if his attitude problem really is as bad as the media and Scolari have suggested Chelsea have no real choice but to allow him (or force him) to move on.
Similar rumours have appeared surrounding John Terry, he was supposedly instrumental in the sacking of Jose Mourinho. Terry himself has dismissed these claims but it does not bode well for Ancelotti, who will need the players on his side if he is to bring silverware to Stamford Bridge next season.
I have no doubt Ancelotti is a great tactician and if he is given the time and power at Chelsea I’m confident he will be a success. Guus Hiddink seemed to be able to handle the players but he was only a temporary boss and the situation is different now. After the first 10 games or so we should have a general idea of how well the Italian boss will do but until then questions will be asked about whether he has the authority and ability to handle what is largely reported to be a very difficult Chelsea squad.