Carlo Ancelotti may soon be following Ray Wilkins out of Stamford Bridge if weekend press reports are to be believed. The Chelsea Football Club manger is evidently considering his future at the club after his former assistant was abruptly fired last week.
The Pensioners have lost two games and squandered a six point lead over their premiership rivals Manchester United since Wilkins's departure. Following the 1-0 loss against Birmingham City on Saturday, Ancelotti conceded he does not have "total control of the team" and that it was "not my decision" to dismiss Wilkins.
According to a Chelsea source quoted in the Telegraph and Guardian, the Italian now believes "something is broken" at the club. The same source describes him as being at his "lowest ebb" and "concerned that he let Wilkins down".
The Ancelotti-Wilkins partnership resulted in an unprecedented Premier League and FA Cup Double last season, and the reasons for Wilkins's departure and the appointment of Nigerian Michael Emenalo, the club's former opposition scout, as a replacement remain unclear.
At the end of last week, Wilkins said: "I am very disappointed that the board decided that I had no further contribution to make at Chelsea Football Club which has played such a huge part in my life.
"Since rejoining the club, I am extremely proud to have assisted in Chelsea's recent successes. I enjoyed a fantastic relationship with the staff, players and the supporters and I now wish them all the very best for the future.
"The League Managers Association's legal advisers are assisting me in obtaining answers to a number of questions arising from my undoubtedly unfair dismissal, and all efforts are being made to reach an amicable solution. I therefore will be making no further comment at this stage."
While it appears that Ancelotti was happy enough with his performance, a "highly placed source at the club" quoted in the Guardian says some first-team players were "unconvinced by his ability".
Regardless of the circumstances, legal action for unfair or wrongful dismissal seems unlikely. Responding to Wilkins's statement about his departure, a Chelsea spokesperson said the club is hoping for an "amicable" deal on compensation. "Although the matter is confidential, we can say that we have told Ray and his advisers that we will honour the termination provisions in his employment contract."
- 'I am not in control at Chelsea,' admits dissatisfied Carlo Ancelotti (Guardian)
- Player power behind Ray Wilkins's Chelsea exit, says source (Guardian)
- Ray Wilkins to seek legal advice over 'unfair dismissal' from Chelsea (Guardian)
- Chelsea changes have left Carlo Ancelotti brooding over future as tensions mount at Stamford Bridge (Telegraph)
- Wrongful dismissal law (Findlaw.co.uk)
- Unfair dismissal law (Findlaw.co.uk)
- Employment law Q&A (Community)
- Find an employment solicitor (Contact Law)