Monday 11 December 2017

Ancelotti relishing lead role

Mark Fleming

Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti admitted yesterday he is comfortable with his role as the man the others have to topple.

In what is becoming a regular occurrence this season, he yesterday named his side that will to face Manchester City at Eastlands today, and followed the 11 names by adding the postscript: "It's a good team, eh?" That is the remark of a man with the utmost confidence in his team.

Chelsea made the template for buying their way to the title that City are now trying to follow. Ancelotti accepted that his job of maintaining a successful side was far less demanding than the task that faces his counterpart Roberto Mancini.

Ancelotti is content to reap the benefits of continuity after he inherited a strong squad that has remained largely the same for several seasons. Mancini has the opposite task, of building a side in a short time frame.

"We did the same when Roman (Abramovich) started to be the owner," Ancelotti said. "Now we don't need to spend this money because we have a good squad and young players who are improving.

"I prefer to have a team ready to play. I'm happy in that I don't have difficulties. Last season was fantastic and (we) maintained the same squad, so this season it's easier to work with these players.

"If you always change nine or 10 players, it's more difficult."

Under Ancelotti Chelsea have entered a new phase, when the hatred that many football fans felt towards them is starting to mellow. Ancelotti's easy charm is one reason, but the overwhelming factor is the spectacular football his team has produced both this season and last.

Surprisingly, Ancelotti confessed yesterday that it had not been his intention to instruct Chelsea to become such an attractive team, merely that he had come to the pragmatic conclusion that it suited the players at his disposal.

Ancelotti said: "The quality of the players means we have to play good football. It's the right way to play with these players. I don't know if we are entertaining. We don't want to be entertainers...we want to win and give enjoyment to our fans."

Ancelotti said he still considers Manchester City to be title contenders, despite their inconsistent start to the season, and singled out Carlos Tevez as their most dangerous player.

Asked if City can force their way back into the race for the Premier League, the Italian said: "They have the possibility to do this. They didn't start so well, but they have the possibility and the time to come back to first place in the table. Tevez is the most dangerous player at City. I appreciate his kind of player and we have to pay attention (to him)." (© Independent News Service)

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Irish Independent

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