Chelsea in the mood for Euro run: Ancelotti
Carlo Ancelotti insists Chelsea are in the perfect condition to win the Champions League even though his side made hard work of killing off Copenhagen in the last 16.
Ancelotti’s side advanced to the quarter-finals of Europe’s elite club competition with a 2-0 aggregate victory over the Danish champions, but they made life difficult for themselves in the goal-less second leg at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.
The Blues squandered a host of chances to dismiss Copenhagen, while riding their luck at the other end when Dame N’Doye’s free-kick hit a post in the first half.
However, Chelsea can now look forward to Friday’s draw for the last eight and Ancelotti sees no reason why they can’t go all the way to the final at Wembley.
Although Ancelotti acknowledged Chelsea’s finishing must improve, the Italian believes the Premier League champions are finally back on track after their recent rocky patch.
“The team is fresh and it is a good moment for us,” he said. “I think we have the squad to win it.
“At this moment all the players are fit. If we are able to play at 100 percent we are able to arrive in the final.
“The feeling is good. We slept for two months and now we are fresh and in good condition.
“We are calm and quiet. The atmosphere now is really good. After the first leg win against Copenhagen the results and performances have been good.”
Chelsea were on top from the start against Copenhagen, but Yuri Zhirkov missed two good chances in the first half, while Nicolas Anelka failed to take advantage of two defence-splitting passes from Didier Drogba.
John Obi Mikel went closest for the Blues when the Nigerian midfielder hit the crossbar with a header in the second half.
Ancelotti refused to criticise Chelsea’s wasteful finishing, preferring to focus on the large number of chances created.
“The only thing missing was a goal. There was good attitude, spirit, speed on counter-attack and good defence,” Ancelotti said.
“We didn’t need to score a goal tonight. The performance was good in my opinion. We didn’t want to take risks in this game and we had good control defensively.
“If you have so many chances we have to score obviously. We have to be a little more precise up front but it is a little detail.”
Of Chelsea’s strikers, only Fernando Torres emerged with any credit after an impressive cameo as a second-half substitute.
Ancelotti dismissed questions about Torres’ reaction to being left on the bench with a bizarre joke.
“He was very unhappy, there was a big argument and he tried to put his name on the teamsheet. You can decide if I am joking or not!” he said.
“He played well. He was excited to try to score and had some good movements.”
With all the domestic trophies now out of Chelsea’s reach, Ancelotti knows he needs to win in Europe to keep his job and it would help to avoid favourites Barcelona for as long as possible.
“The draw is out of our control. Barcelona is the most dangerous team but if we have to play against them we will play,” he said.
Copenhagen’s gutsy performance exceeded the expectations of coach Stale Solbakken.
But his one regret was a feeling that Chelsea could have wobbled if N’Doye’s first-half free-kick had beaten Petr Cech rather than rebounding to safety off a post.
“We can dream of what might have happened if N’Doye’s free-kick had gone in. They might have got a little bit of nerves,” he said.
“That might have changed the psychology of the game, although they were a little bit stronger than us in all areas.
“Congratulations to Chelsea, they were the best team over the two games, but I’m very proud of what we’ve done in this campaign.”
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