Carlo Ancelotti has denied his apparent indifference to his fate as Chelsea manager could cause his players to slack off for the rest of the season.
Ancelotti last week claimed it would "not be a problem" if Roman Abramovich sacked him after overseeing what is set to be the club's worst campaign since the Russian billionaire's takeover. Indeed, Ancelotti seemed all but resigned to losing his job in the summer but, for now, he and his players are in limbo with six matches remaining this term.
But Ancelotti said: "They are Chelsea players, they are professional. This is football, that sometimes the manager can change. They are working with me at this moment. Maybe they will work with me in the future. Maybe they will not work with me in the future, but with another coach."
There are numerous reasons for the decline at Chelsea which has put Ancelotti in the firing line, most of them arguably not the Italian's fault.
One of those was certainly the injury and illness suffered by Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba at the end of last year, during what was the club's worst run in the league for almost 15 years.
Ancelotti claimed the duo's absence cost Chelsea vital points that might have made the difference in the title race.
He added: "In the difficult moment, it was not easy to move on without these kind of players. We missed them in November and December when we didn't play well.
"Everyone doesn't have a good memory but this team, in the last month or more, did very well in the Premier League. This team have played good football and won a lot of games.
"Maybe two months ago, no-one could think we could come back to fight for the title.
"We didn't think this, but we are not so far from Manchester United and we're very close to Arsenal. Two months ago, this was a dream."
Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.