Belfast Telegraph

Ancelotti ready for first big test

Coach Carlo Ancelotti conceded Chelsea's first real test of the season will come at Manchester City next Saturday after his side demolished Blackpool 4-0 at Stamford Bridge.

The Blues went four points clear at the top of the Barclays Premier League table with a brace from Florent Malouda and other strikes from Salomon Kalou and Didier Drogba. All the goals came in a first half which Chelsea dominated and Ancelotti's side have now scored 25 in all competitions and 21 in the domestic top flight.

"It is important to have confidence in our play - we have that," said Ancelotti.

"We know the next game in the league will be more difficult. But if we can do it away at a fantastic team like Manchester City - it is an important test.

"Liverpool are in trouble a little bit because they lost important players. Arsenal are playing very well and scoring a lot of goals and Manchester City are a new team and a new team needs to have time to play as a team.

"It is an important test for us next week but it is also an important test for them. We have not played against the top teams but we are playing well. It is necessary for us to do it against the top teams."

Chelsea went off the boil after the break, just like they did when winning by a similar scoreline against MSK Zilina in the Champions League in midweek. But Ancelotti accepts that with so many games coming up, sometimes the focus of the players drifts away.

"Blackpool had a good reaction after the first half and made some chances to score," added the Italian. "We didn't play as well as we did in the first half.

"When you are 4-0 up it is sometimes difficult to maintain concentration and stay focused. The first half was very good for us and a pleasure to watch my team play the way they did in the first half.

"The same thing happened against Zilina when we were 4-0 up. Maybe the players are looking to the next games and lose a bit of concentration during the game."

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