Tuesday 20 March 2018

Ancelotti sets Chelsea sights on cup full of cheer

Matt Hughes

THE English FA Cup may have lost some of its lustre during this millennium, becoming a competition to tolerate rather than target at some of the biggest clubs, but not at Chelsea.

Carlo Ancelotti revealed yesterday that the first thing he was told on joining the club last summer was that the FA Cup should be treated with deadly seriousness, a message that has been received loud and clear before the visit of Watford tomorrow.

Ancelotti was brought to Stamford Bridge by Roman Abramovich primarily to win the Champions League, but the Russian's desire for success is such that other trophies are not to be sniffed at.

Whereas other top-flight managers will rest players this weekend, Ancelotti is hoping that Nicolas Anelka will come through a training session today to enable him to start alongside Daniel Sturridge up front.

"I know very well how important this competition is," Ancelotti said. "The first thing that the club said to me is that the FA Cup is not the Italian Cup. The club want to win this competition, just like the Premiership or the Champions League. It's the same. We want to do the best."

Chelsea will approach the game in good heart after last week's late fightback against Fulham enabled them to maintain their position at the top of the Premier League.

"I saw a fantastic reaction against Fulham," he said. "It's very difficult to change a game like my players did. For me that was a surprise. It was fantastic: the determination, the personality. They wanted to win that game."

Such a comeback should give the fans who booed the team at half-time food for thought, but Ancelotti was unfazed by that reaction.

"When a team doesn't play well it's normal that they won't receive a clap, but a whistle," Ancelotti said. "It can be a good motivation. The fans want to come to Stamford Bridge to see their team play well." (© The Times, London)

Irish Independent

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