Ancelotti future returns to spotlight

MANCHESTER - Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti will find out at the end of the season whether his team's courageous but ultimately unsuccessful bid to retain their Premier League title will be enough to save his job.

A 2-1 defeat by Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday virtually ensured Sir Alex Ferguson's side would take over as champions as they need just one point from their final two matches to guarantee the trophy.

"Manchester United will win the title," was Ancelotti's frank assessment at a news conference.

That this match was even billed as a title-decider was testament to the remarkable turnaround in Chelsea's season in the past two months where they had gone from trailing United by 15 points to being able to overtake them on goal difference.

Since fighting back to beat United 2-1 at Stamford Bridge at the beginning of March, Chelsea had until now dropped only two points but their brave endeavours are set to fall short as the damage of a mid-season slump proves too big to repair.

Ancelotti, who has repeatedly faced questions over his future - especially during a miserable period when Chelsea picked up 10 points from 11 matches and when they were knocked out of the Champions League by United - is braced for more.

"I have another year of contract, I would like to stay," said the Italian, sticking to what he has said for weeks and saying it with the same dignified air and raised eyebrow as usual.

"The club will take a decision at the end of the season. We wait and see... they have to take into consideration all of the season."


Chelsea's Russian owner Roman Abramovich has displayed no mercy in showing the door to managers who have not brought home trophies and last year's Premier League and FA Cup double may count for little when it comes to determining his fate.

Ancelotti was generous to United, who are on the brink of a record 19th league title and in with a chance of a double as they take on Barcelona in the final of the Champions League that Chelsea would so dearly love to win.

"They (United) played with more continuity this season, playing good football," he said. "I think this season they did better than us.

He added that conceding after 37 seconds to a Javier Hernandez goal had got Chelsea off to a bad start.

"We needed to win here, we needed to have a different performance," said Ancelotti. "Manchester United have fantastic players and a fantastic striker, they found at the first opportunity the ability to score.

"They were the better team in the Premier League."