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Ancelotti: Chelsea on course

Carlo Ancelotti insisted Chelsea remained on course to finish in the Barclays Premier League top four as he defended his decision to drop Didier Drogba in the goalless derby draw with Fulham.

The Blues failed to secure the win needed to lift them back into the Champions League places as new signing Fernando Torres endured another game to forget for the faltering champions. It would have been even worse for Ancelotti's men but for a stoppage-time penalty save by Petr Cech from Fulham's Clint Dempsey.

"The most important thing is to finish in the top four. I think we will be able to do this if we play like we did. I'm an optimist and there's good reason to have confidence," Ancelotti said.

"The football we showed tonight was good, and we have to continue it."

He added: "I think that we deserved to win this game. We could lose it, but Petr Cech saved a penalty with a fantastic save.

"It was a good performance, especially in the second half. We put them under a lot of pressure, did not concede opportunities for them to come forward, and we created opportunities."

Torres missed four chances either side of half-time to open his Chelsea account in a woeful display from the Spaniard, who endured chants of 'What a waste of money' from the Fulham fans just over a week after being taunted by Liverpool supporters.

But Ancelotti, who eventually replaced Torres with Drogba, said: "Fernando played well. He had some opportunities in the first half and I took him out just to use Didier fresh and with power. That's the only reason I changed him.

"His performance was better than that against Liverpool. Every striker wants to score. I don't think he's frustrated because he needs time to play with us and, after one week, he was really better tonight after that first performance."

Explaining his decision to axe Drogba, Ancelotti said: "I don't know if Didier was happy, but every player knows every game is important. It doesn't matter. We wanted to rotate to maintain his condition and to give everyone great motivation."

Press Association


From Belfast Telegraph