chelsea news

Ancelotti primed for Premier League battle

August 10, 2009

Carlo Ancelotti feels his new-look Chelsea team are ready for the start of the season after beating Manchester United on penalties to win the FA Community Shield at Wembley.

The Premier League champions had dominated after taking an early lead through Nani, who later went off injured with a shoulder problem.

However, Italian coach Ancelotti made several tactical changes during the second half which paid off as his men fought back through Ricardo Carvalho and went ahead following a controversial goal by Frank Lampard.

A stoppage-time effort from England striker Wayne Rooney meant the match would be settled by a shoot-out, in which Ryan Giggs and Patrice Evra saw weak efforts saved by Blues goalkeeper Petr Cech to give Ancelotti his first piece of silverware.

"It is an important start to the season because we have changed the way the team plays a bit,'' said the Chelsea manager. "We found it difficult, but we were better in the second half when we put more strength on the pitch.

"I am very happy, not only for this month but also for this past month. I now know the players, I like their mental attitude and I like the organisation of the club.

"We are ready to start a very important season for us and we are ready to do our best.

"Manchester are our most important opponents in the Premiership because they are a great team, they have great experience. So this gives us a bit more trust in our possibilities.

"Now, though, we have to think of the season and the next matches.''

Carvalho was named the sponsor's man of the match following a composed display alongside captain John Terry at the heart of the Chelsea defence.

The Portugal centre-half said: "It is important to win trophies, but now we have to look to the Premier League and start winning there as it's important to get a lead.''

Lampard's 70th-minute strike which put Chelsea in front proved the match's controversial incident, and left United manager Sir Alex Ferguson incensed.

Substitute Michael Ballack appeared to elbow Evra, but with the United player down, referee Chris Foy allowed play to continue and eventually England midfielder Lampard's shot beat Ben Foster.

Ancelotti, though, said: "The referee can stop the play and also the players can put the ball out.

"However, for sure they did not see Evra down on the pitch, because a Chelsea player would put the ball out if they saw an opponent down.''

Ancelotti's former club AC Milan have, meanwhile, rubbished reports they are in talks with Chelsea over Alexandre Pato, with the Blues boss reiterating he was not looking to bring in any more players.