Belfast Telegraph

Ancelotti looks to move Chelsea forward

Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti insists there will be no witch hunt following their 1-1 home draw with Everton.

The Italian coach may not have slept much last night but he remains confident that Chelsea's current mid-season slump will be halted at Tottenham next weekend.

Ancelotti's side, with just one win from their last six league games, looked to have banished their blues when Didier Drogba slammed home a 41st minute penalty.

But Everton fought back to share the spoils with an 86th minute header from substitute Jermaine Beckford that left Chelsea in third place.

Much of the psychological rebuilding will be done on the training pitch in the coming days but Ancelotti has already targeted Tottenham as the perfect platform to bounce back.

Chelsea, going through their worst run for a decade, have lost the swagger they showed when winning five games on the bounce at the start of the season.

But Ancelotti insists it is not the time to look for scapegoats or to apportion blame but a period when Chelsea's renowned fighting spirit must be rediscovered.

"We have to work and work more than we are doing at the moment," said Ancelotti.

"You can move from this moment by staying compact.

"You don't have to search for the guilty but understand where we are missing in this moment and look forward.

"The criticism is normal and we have to stay in focus. We have a great opportunity in the next game against Tottenham away. The game is a great opportunity to show our character. We could also have Frank Lampard back from injury, I hope.

"We have to change something in our behaviour on the training ground. It is the way to move quickly in this difficult moment.

"We have to stay in focus, with more concentration, and work hard. Every game is a challenge and every period is a challenge.

"I have explained to my players what I feel in this moment. I think they understood this. Now there is no reason to smile. We have to stay in focus, we have to be serious and if you want to change quickly, I think we have to work hard."

Ancelotti was clearly angry with his team's display against Everton and even described his player's as being "afraid" during an insipid second half.

Too many long balls were aimed at Drogba while Everton, smelling the scent of reward, cut through Chelsea with ease and deserved their equaliser.

But while Ancelotti refuses to look for scapegoats, midfielder John Obi Mikel believes the change in their fortunes has arrived because other teams in the top flight have finally sussed them out.

"Other teams are trying to find a way to play against us," said Mikel.

"Before, we could find a ball in behind for our strikers and we have the players in our team who can search for the strikers whenever they make a run.

"Teams are now trying to run with our strikers or stay goal-side, which makes it difficult for the rest of us to find those balls in behind all the time.

"So we can keep doing it and they will keep reading our passes or we can look for a way to change some things, leave that for a little bit and go back to it if the space starts to open up in games again."

Meanwhile, Everton defender Leighton Baines, hailed as the second best English left-back by manager David Moyes, paid tribute to Beckford.

The former Leeds striker had just one Premier League goal to his credit going into the game but his header four minutes from time doubled his tally.

"I think if anyone could have got the goal, we would have all chosen Becks because some people have given him a rough ride of late," said Baines.

"But he has been coming on for 10 minutes and getting three chances, which says something about the natural ability he has got of getting in the right positions.

"If he keeps doing that, he has shown in the past that he is more than capable of scoring. He is going to be a big asset for us.

"To come to Stamford Bridge and get a point is always a decent result so we have to take some confidence from that.

"We were definitely good value for a point. We are quite pleased with what we've done and hopefully it's a springboard for us to go on and put some decent results together."

Belfast Telegraph


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