Ancelotti sets final goal for Chelsea
Carlo Ancelotti has told his Chelsea stars that reaching the Champions League final is the least they should achieve in Europe's elite club competition this season. They meet Porto at home on Tuesday.sports Updated: Sep 14, 2009 23:29 IST
Carlo Ancelotti has told his Chelsea stars that reaching the Champions League final is the least they should achieve in Europe's elite club competition this season.
Ancelotti was hired by Blues owner Roman Abramovich partly because of his Champions League pedigree and the Italian, who won the competition twice during his reign at AC Milan, has set his new team a lofty goal before a ball has even been kicked.
The Chelsea boss gets a first chance to underline his European nous when Chelsea begin their campaign at home to Porto on Tuesday, but he has already seen enough of the west London side to know they can go all the way to next year's final in Real Madrid's Bernabeu Stadium.
"The first objective is to reach the final," Ancelotti said on Monday. "We want to arrive at the final before we think about winning it.
"It is not easy to reach the final but I think we have the possibility to do this.
"We have to try to do our best. We have a very strong team with fantastic players and a fantastic mental attitude."
Chelsea have endured a rocky ride in the Champions League since Abramovich made the tournament his holy grail after buying the club in 2003.
They have been defeated at the semi-final stage four times, including last season's agonising exit to Barcelona, and came within one kick of winning it for the first time in the 2008 final, only for John Terry's penalty miss in the shoot-out to gift the trophy to Manchester United.
Ancelotti can't pin-point a reason for Chelsea's misfortune, but insists he doesn't feel under any extra pressure to end the club's long wait to be crowned kings of Europe.
"It is not that the club asked me to win the Champions League, they asked me to win the Champions League, the Premier League, the FA Cup and the League Cup!" Ancelotti said.
"For Chelsea it is important to be in these competitions and to have the possibility to win. To win is not easy because the Champions League is a very special competition.
"I don't know why they haven't won it. I think they have done very well in the Champions League because they reached the semi finals five times in six years. It is not easy to do that.
"To win the Champions League is very important. You need to be a little bit lucky but it isn't just luck. You have to believe if you want to do the best in this competition."
Ancelotti must cope without Ivory Coast striker Didier Drogba for three matches and Portugal right-back Jose Bosingwa for two games as the pair serve European suspensions dished out by UEFA for their conduct at the end of last season's Barca defeat.
Drogba and Bosingwa hounded referee Tom Henning Ovrebo after he failed to award Chelsea three penalties before a last minute goal from Andres Iniesta knocked them out.
Losing Drogba is an especially big blow but Ancelotti believes Chelsea will be able to survive without their talismanic forward.
"We don't have Didier or Jose, but also Joe Cole and Paulo Ferreira will not be able to play and Deco cannot play as well.
"Didier is going very well. He has scored and worked very hard for the team but now we don't think about Didier. We have to think about the players who will go on the pitch. I think we can play well without Didier."
After watching Chelsea come from behind several times during their five-match winning run at the start of the Premier League campaign, Ancelotti is already certain his players are made of the right stuff to win in Europe as well.
"I don't think there is a psychological problem," he said. "Chelsea were very close to winning in the past. They didn't win but I think there is a real possibility to do very well this season."