| 8°C Dublin

Ancelotti focused on Blues despite father's illness

Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti insists his father's illness in Italy is not preventing him from focusing on his job at Stamford Bridge.

The Italian returns home to see his father at every opportunity but, while he accepts it is emotionally difficult, he has a first-class support system -- both at the club and back home.

"My father is not well," said Ancelotti. "He's an old man. Whenever possible, I fly back to Italy to see him.

"He has good support from my sister, so we don't have a problem for this reason.

"It's not difficult to keep my focus. I've spent a lot of time here and, when I'm not here, I have good support from my assistant.

"Everyone knows my situation. I don't have a problem managing the team for this reason. It's difficult, emotionally, when it's your father ... but this is life. I have to do my best to stay close to him.

"I will go back on Monday. But I will not miss the Carling Cup game against Newcastle next week."

Meanwhile, Ancelotti believes Chelsea are top of the Premier League on merit, even if they have yet to face any of their title rivals this season.

The Blues have scored 17 goals in the league this term and conceded just once in victories over West Brom, Wigan, Stoke and West Ham.

They face newly promoted Blackpool at Stamford Bridge tomorrow, with fans expecting more of the same.

Chelsea's first real test will come away at Manchester City at the end of this month, but Ancelotti maintains his team are ready for anyone.

"It's an important moment now," he said. "We have a lot of games and we don't have time to train properly, but we are ready to play against a strong team.

"We have more knowledge and, for that reason, we are doing well. There's no fear now, which is good. The players are all involved in the team and there's a good atmosphere. If we can maintain this atmosphere, I think we can have success this year."

Chelsea will be without England midfielder Frank Lampard tomorrow as he is yet to fully recover from his hernia surgery.

Ancelotti also wants to rest some of his first-team players, with midfielder Ramires, right-back Paulo Ferreira and striker Salomon Kalou likely to start.