Ancelotti did not deserve the axe

Chelsea sacking Carlo Ancelotti after only one season’s ‘failure’ makes no sense at all.

In the Premier League they came second, nine points behind Manchester United and lost to Fergie’s side in the quarter-finals of the Champions League. But to put it in context, United could be crowned European champions on Saturday if they get past the mighty Barcelona.

Considering two decisions that swayed against The Blues were not made by Ancelotti, he does not deserve the axe. He was certainly the best manager since Jose Mourinho, but the unsettling effect of sacking Ray Wilkins as assistant coach in November and the introduction in January of super-expensive misfit Fernando Torres were beyond the shrewd Italian’s control.

Ancelotti did the FA Cup and Premier League double in his first season. He didn’t really fail this season and deserved the benefit of the doubt.

Now Chelsea have to get another manager who, just like the rest, will be under intolerable pressure to succeed with silverware immediately being the only gauge over whether he stays employed or not. Totally unreasonable.

Ancelotti’s successor is likely to be out of Porto’s highly rated Andre Villas-Boas, the already proven veteran Guus Hiddink and former Barcelona manager Frank Rijkaard. Dutch master Marco van Basten is also in the frame.

I prefer Rijkaard who succeeded for a while in the cauldron-like atmosphere of the Nou Camp, but even he will always be looking over his shoulder if he lands in west London. Rijkaard should have got the job at Stamford Bridge when Mourinho moved on four years ago. Maybe the timing is right for him now. Mourinho is being mentioned but his ego has outgrown his effectiveness.

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