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Carlo hoping to stay lucky

Carlo Ancelotti is hoping to capitalise on his luck today when Chelsea entertain Sunderland at Stamford Bridge.

The Italian coach admits he is a “lucky man” after last weekend saw Manchester United and Arsenal both drop points in the race for the title.

United drew at Birmingham while Arsenal were held at the Emirates by Everton.

Ancelotti is hoping his luck does not run out against Steve Bruce's mid-table side as Chelsea look to maintain their one-point lead over United knowing they now have a game in hand on their rivals.

“I am a lucky man,” admitted Ancelotti. “Maybe, for a coach, it's better to be lucky than a good manager.

“I think Manchester United and Arsenal drew difficult games and we maintained our position at the top of the table with a game in hand on Manchester United.

“This is good, but now we have to play and win. We can improve our position in the next few months. Sunderland will not be an easy game, but we can improve our position. We want to do that.

“Every team is dangerous. For the title, Arsenal are very close to us. But, if it's possible, we have to arrive in the game against Arsenal next month with more points than them. Then, we hope to beat them at home.

“Man City are doing very well and are a very dangerous team with a lot of quality, a lot of players with strong quality. We have to pay attention to them. I don't know if it's too early for them. If they do a good job, they can win the title. That's normal.

“Sunderland are a good team with a good coach. We did a fantastic match when we played them away against them.

“I think that, after that game, they improved and it'll be more difficult tomorrow because they are more compact as a team.”

Much has been made of Joe Cole's contract negotiations in the last week but Ancelotti is still convinced the England international will remain a Chelsea player.

His current deal expires at the end of the season but both club and player are continuing to their dialogue.

“It's the same situation as last week,” he added. “They are talking with the club. I think that Joe is very quiet, very calm and is training very well.”

While Ancelotti basks in the satisfaction sitting on top of the Barclays Premier, he found the time to show some sympathy for under-fire Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez.

“It can happen that some things are not very good,” said Ancelotti. “Benitez did a fantastic job for Liverpool and won the Champions League in 2005. I remember.

“He got to the final in 2007. He has done a fantastic job, and he has the personality and the quality to do a good job in Liverpool.

“I consider Benitez one of the best coaches in the world. Sometimes you have to have confidence in a coach, above all in a coach who has already done very well in the club. Benitez has done well at Liverpool.”

Belfast Telegraph