Ancelotti impressed by resilient Chelsea
Carlo Ancelotti believes Chelsea's Community Shield victory over Manchester United proves his team have the mental strength to win the Premier League.sports Updated: Aug 10, 2009 10:16 IST
Carlo Ancelotti believes Chelsea's Community Shield victory over Manchester United proves his team have the mental strength to win the Premier League.
Ancelotti's side struck an early psychological blow in the battle to be English football's top dogs by ending United's two-year reign as Community Shield holders at Wembley on Sunday.
The FA Cup winners recovered from the disappointment of Wayne Rooney's stoppage time strike, which rescued a 2-2 draw, to win the penalty shoot-out 4-1.
Petr Cech saved from Ryan Giggs and Patrice Evra, while all four Chelsea players converted their spot-kicks to give Ancelotti a trophy in his first serious match as Blues boss.
"It was an important start to the season because we have changed the way the team plays a bit. I'm very happy not only for this result but also for this past month," Ancelotti said.
"I now know the players, I like their mental attitude and I like the organisation of the club."
After falling behind to Nani's early strike, the Blues found it hard to control United for long periods of the first half.
But they were revitalised after a stern half-time talk from Ancelotti and equalised through Ricardo Carvalho.
Frank Lampard put Chelsea in front in controversial circumstances as Ancelotti's team played on while United appealed for the ball to be kicked out to allow treatment for Patrice Evra.
United left-back Evra had been pole-axed by Michael Ballack's elbow but Didier Drogba slipped a pass to Lampard as United protested and the midfielder scored via a post.
Rooney levelled late on before Cech sealed Chelsea's first Community Shield triumph since 2005.
That victory four years ago was sandwiched between Chelsea's two Premier League titles. Ancelotti started with nine players from that Jose Mourinho era on Saturday and he is convinced such a battle-hardened group can regain the title this season.
"We're ready to start a very important season for us and we are ready to do our best. Now we have to continue to work and improve," Ancelotti said.
"We are now ready to start a very important season and want to do the best. This result is important because it proves our possibilities."
It was Ancelotti's impressive CV in the Champions League that persuaded Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich to hire him from AC Milan, but success in the Premier League is long overdue as well and the Italian has no doubts that United will be their biggest rivals.
"United will be the most important opponent in the Premier League because they are a great team with great experience," Ancelotti added.
Chelsea, who host Hull in their league opener on Saturday, have been quiet in the transfer market, with only Russia midfielder Yuri Zhirkov, Manchester City striker Daniel Sturridge and Ross Turnbull, Middlesbrough's reserve goalkeeper, arriving so far.
Ancelotti, who dismissed a report linking Chelsea with a 40 million pounds bid for AC Milan's Brazilian striker Pato, admitted no more signings are expected.
"It is not true because Pato is a Milan player," Ancelotti said. "He is a young player and Milan believe a lot in Pato. They sold Kaka and now Pato is an important player for them."