Carlo Ancelotti says he has to deliver Champions League football at PSG
The former Chelsea and AC Milan boss has been in France since December
The Italian say Andre Villas-Boas has tried to change too much at Chelsea
Former Chelsea midfielder Claude Makelele says the situation at the club is "sad"
Carlo Ancelotti paid the ultimate price for failing to deliver trophies at Chelsea last season, being sacked by the English club’s billionaire owner Roman Abramovich just hours after a defeat on the final day.
The Italian is determined to avoid a similar fate at Paris Saint-Germain by guiding the big-spending French club back into the European Champions League – a competition where success proves ever elusive for Abramovich – for the first time since 2004.
Ancelotti replaced the sacked Antoine Kombouare at the Parc des Princes in December, with PSG sitting top of France’s Ligue 1. His appointment has been just one of many changes aimed at boosting the club’s profile since the Qatar Investment Authority became PSG’s majority shareholder in May 2011.
The 52-year-old inherited an expensively-assembled squad including Argentina playmaker Javier Pastore, who signed from Italy’s Palermo for a French record transfer fee.
“The aim is to play the Champions League next year,” Ancelotti, who won European club football’s biggest prize as a player and coach with AC Milan, told CNN.
“I found the club at the top of the league and so I have to try to do the best to keep the club at the top of the league until the end of the season. But the aim is to play in the Champions League.”
Ancelotti fell out of favor at Stamford Bridge after failing to follow up the glory of his first season in charge, when he oversaw Chelsea’s first Premier League and FA Cup double. After leading the Blues to second place in the league, he was axed in favor of one of football’s rising stars – former Porto coach Andre Villas-Boas.
The 34-year-old is now himself in danger of losing his job, having overseen Chelsea’s worst run of results since Abramovich took charge in 2004, and is reportedly facing a player revolt over his team selections.
The Blues are outside the qualification spots for next year’s Champions League, and their hopes in this season’s competition hang by a thread after losing 3-1 in the first leg of the last-16 tie away to Napoli on Tuesday.
Villas-Boas was heavily criticized for starting with experienced England duo of Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole and Ghana’s Michael Essien on the subs’ bench in Naples – players who were key figures during Ancelotti’s time at Chelsea.
“I think the problem at Chelsea was that they tried to change something, to have a team younger, to give less matches to the most important players Frank Lampard, Ashley Cole, John Terry,” Ancelotti said.
“But I think that this change needed time because it is very difficult to substitute players like Lampard, Cole and Terry because they are the players in Chelsea.”
Ancelotti’s coaching staff at PSG includes former Chelsea midfielder Claude Makele, who won two Premier League titles in London under coach Jose Mourinho before moving to the French capital in 2008.
“It makes me sad when I see Chelsea like this,” the 39-year-old said. “In a team, you can’t change five or six players. It’s too much.
“Now Chelsea lose a lot with a lot of experienced players on the bench. This is not fair.”
Fifth-placed Chelsea will seek to end a run of five games without a win in all competitions in the league match against Wigan on Saturday, while Ligue 1 leaders PSG travel to sixth-placed Lyon with a one-point advantage over Montpellier.