Belfast Telegraph

Ancelotti prioritises top-four spot

Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti admits a top-four finish and not the title is now his focus in the Barclays Premier League.

A poor run of form has seen the champions slip to fifth in the table, six points behind leaders Manchester United, who also have a game in hand. And while Ancelotti is a long way from giving up the title, he concedes a Champions League place is "the most important thing".

Ancelotti, who has long-term casualties Alex, Yossi Benayoun and Yuri Zhirkov still unavailable but no new injury problems ahead of Wednesday's trip to Wolves, said: "There are a lot of teams involved in the first positions. To stay in the first places of the table is important for the future."

He added: "We have to think now we can win the title again, but the most important thing is to stay in the places to be in the Champions League.

"I am not worried. We have the skill and the ability to stay in the top four without a problem."

Chelsea have taken just two points from their last five away league games, but Ancelotti believes they will get back on track at Molineux.

Ancelotti, who is looking to strengthen in the January transfer market but has ruled out any interest in signing David Beckham on loan, said: "We won't lose. We will win. We are improving and the team is very close to moving on from this moment. I have confidence that the team improves a little bit and instead of drawing games we can win in the last minute."

Ancelotti refused to divulge his transfer plans but revealed striker Daniel Sturridge would not be allowed out on loan and admitted he would not be in the market for Beckham, whom he worked with two seasons ago at AC Milan.

Beckham is keen to return to Europe in order to prove to England manager Fabio Capello that he deserves a recall to the national side, and has been linked with Tottenham, Blackburn and Newcastle.

"I read that Beckham would like to come back to play for Tottenham," he added. "He is a fantastic professional player and could be good support for Tottenham. But we are not interested. Our aim is different. In that position we have good players."


From Belfast Telegraph