Ancelotti: I pick the team, not Roman Abramovich

April 10, 2011 - 0:0

Carlo Ancelotti has dismissed suggestions that he is under pressure from owner Roman Abramovich to play out-of-form striker Fernando Torres and said he would drop the £50 million signing if necessary.

Torres has failed to score in nine games since arriving from Liverpool in January and has gone more than 12 hours without hitting the net for club or country.
Saturday’s match against Wigan — whose defence is one of the most porous in the Premier League — would seem to be the perfect occasion to end such a drought but Ancelotti is keen to silence a conspiracy theory that Torres is keeping his place primarily on the say-so of the club’s billionaire owner.
The decision to take off Didier Drogba rather than Torres during the 1-0 midweek Champions League defeat against Manchester United only exacerbated such theories, but the Italian says it is entirely in his power to leave Torres out for the return leg at Old Trafford on Tuesday, even though it remains unlikely.
“Why not? I have to choose the best line-up,” he said. “There’s a lot of competition in front and anything can happen. Fernando might not start against United, of course. I have to choose the players, not comparing the players with the money the club paid for them. I have to choose the line-up looking at the training session, the condition of the players and the spirit. Fernando knows this very well.”
When asked if he would consider Abramovich’s reaction before dropping Torres, Ancelotti said: “No, I never thought that. Roman’s so intelligent he’d never ask me to do this.”
The problem remains, however, that Torres is not scoring, Chelsea are out of the title race and on the brink of exiting Europe too unless they produce a very special performance at Old Trafford. It hardly makes for easy preparation for a match against Wigan today, but it is clear that Torres retains the faith of his manager.
“Obviously I don’t know what he really feels inside, but outside he’s relaxed, confident and likes to have fun in training,” he said. “He’s doing everything he can to score so we have to be patient with him. Everyone at this club believes in his quality.”
Ancelotti has insisted he will not change his formation to allow Torres to play a more familiar lone role up front, but has earmarked Yossi Benayoun as the man who could unlock the Spaniard’s potential. Benayoun, a former team-mate of Torres at Liverpool, is back from an Achilles injury and tipped to start on Tuesday if he can make an impact against Wigan.
“Benayoun is the player who knows Fernando best,” Ancelotti said.
(Source: Telegraph)