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Monday, March 15, 2010
Ancelotti: Blues focused on Inter, not Mourinho

Chelsea coach Carlo Ancelotti insists his players will not be distracted by former boss Jose Mourinho's return to Stamford Bridge in the Champions League tomorrow night.

The Special One returns

• Malouda on Jose return

Mourinho will be back at his old stamping ground for the first since he was sacked by the club in September 2007. Inter have a 2-1 lead from the opening leg of the last-16 tie in the San Siro but Ancelotti is confident there will be no divided loyalties among a squad that was largely constructed by the self-appointed 'Special One'.

"I'm sure they're not distracted by his return,'' said Ancelotti. "For Mourinho, it'll be a special evening. The fans will give him a very good reception, one he deserves. But the match will be another thing. The players are not involved in other things.

"All the Chelsea players and Inter players are focused on the game, an important game. The other things they're not interested in. Jose has great experience. He has won the Champions League and won a lot of titles in different countries.

"The difference in this game will be the different play, the different confidence, the difference courage and personality that the teams put out on the pitch. That will be the difference. I hope there will be a third English club in the quarter-finals. Arsenal and Manchester United did a good job. Now we have to do the same tomorrow.''

Chelsea's goalkeeping crisis remains acute with Ross Turnbull set to play only the second Champions League game of his career. Turnbull, who made his league debut for the club in Saturday's 4-1 demolition of West Ham, will play against Milan due to Petr Cech's calf injury and Hilario's groin problem.

The former Middlesbrough goalkeeper's only previous experience of Champions League football was the 2-2 home draw with Cypriot side APOEL Nicosia in the group stage.

Ancelotti confirmed: "It's not possible for Cech or Hilario to recover, so Turnbull will play and Rhys Taylor will stay on the bench like on Saturday. There's no chance of me taking a risk on Cech. Turnbull is a confident lad and we have confidence in him. Until now, Cech has not trained so it's impossible that he might play tomorrow.

"We have to play well as a team. Cech is injured, but Turnbull is a good goalkeeper who has played very well this season and improved every day. So, for me, it's not a problem. Cech has more experience than Turnbull for sure, but Ross is young and has enthusiasm to play. He wants to play and, for him, this will be a great, great experience.''

Inter will arrive in London having suffered a shock 3-1 defeat by Catania in Serie A at the weekend. The loss allowed Ancelotti's old club, AC Milan, top close the gap at the top of the Italian league to just one point. But in the 18 months since Mourinho arrived, Inter have never lost two successive games.

Mourinho kissed the Inter badge before the opening leg against Chelsea but Ancelotti believes such demonstrations of passion should be reserved for the opposite sex.

"We don't need to think about Inter being out of form,'' added the Italian. "We will go out of our way to break that run but they have shown themselves to be a top quality team, they're very strong, and we have to prepare for them playing their best football.

"As for kissing the badge, I'd prefer to kiss a nice, beautiful lady rather than the badge. We've come out of the slight downturn we experienced. We've got a few players back. We played well against Inter and well against West Ham, so we're well prepared for this game. Physically, we've shown we're very much up to the task. Inter's defeat to Catania might put them under pressure, but they've also now got to go for it and react.

"In a manager's mind, it might serve as a motivation to react immediately. I don't think it will influence the game too much and, even if it does, it would influence it in a positive way. We have to show our best football, better organisation and better concentration. It will be difficult because Inter are a very strong team but if we do that we will win.

"It's a dream for me to bring the Champions League here in my first season at Chelsea. We are working to make that dream a reality. It's not easy to win the Champions League. We have a possibility to do this. We have to get over this hurdle, and that is difficult because Inter are a very strong team. But we are hopeful.''

Defender Ricardo Carvalho has recovered from his hamstring strain and will almost certainly replace Alex at the heart of the Chelsea defence.




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