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Chelsea Seeks Manager After Parting Company With Ancelotti

Chelsea is seeking a new manager after Carlo Ancelotti ended his second season at the club without a trophy and the London soccer team’s lowest number of Premier League points since 2003.

Chelsea said last night it “parted company” with Ancelotti after a final-day loss at Everton left the defending champion in second place with 71 points, nine behind Manchester United. The Italian coach had a year remaining on his contract.

“This season’s performances have fallen short of expectations and the club feels the time is right to make this change,” Chelsea said in a statement on its website. “Chelsea’s long-term football objectives and ambitions remain unchanged and we will now be concentrating all our efforts on identifying a new manager.”

The club said it would have no further comment until that appointment, which will bring in Chelsea’s seventh manager since Roman Abramovich bought the Blues in 2003, is made. U.K. bookmaker William Hill makes Porto’s Andre Villas-Boas the 2-1 favorite to replace Ancelotti. The 33-year-old guided Porto to four trophies this season.

Chelsea has turned its attention to Turkey coach Guus Hiddink and Real Madrid’s Jose Mourinho, the Daily Mail reported today without saying where it got the information. Both had previous spells as manager at Stamford Bridge.

First Double

Ancelotti, 51, was hired in June 2009 after winning two Champions League titles in eight seasons at AC Milan. The Blues won the Premier League and F.A. Cup last year, capturing the double for the first time in the club’s history.

Chelsea opened its league championship defense with five straight wins before finishing without a trophy for the first time since the 2007-08 season. The total of 71 points was four more than it managed when finishing fourth in 2003.

A mid-season slump dropped the Blues 15 points behind Manchester United in February before a late surge pulled them within three points heading into a showdown at Old Trafford on May 8. United won 2-1 before securing its record 19th English title six days later.

“We cannot say we are happy to reach second place, Chelsea has to fight for the title all the time,” Ancelotti said after yesterday’s 1-0 loss to Everton. “Sometimes there are problems and you are not able to win, this was this year for us.”

The Blues also reached the quarterfinals of the Champions League, where they lost 3-1 over two games to United. They were beaten by Everton in a shootout in the fourth round of the F.A. Cup in February and were eliminated 4-3 by Newcastle in the third round of the League Cup in September.

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