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Ancelotti looking at Europe
Published : 03 Apr 2011 14:00:09
Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti is targeting the Champions League after his side's slim chances of defending their domestic title virtually disappeared.
An entertaining 1-1 draw at Stoke left the Blues 11 points behind Barclays Premier League leaders Manchester United and even with a match in hand that appears too big a gap to close. However, Chelsea face United in the quarter-finals of Europe's premier club competition on Wednesday with Ancelotti admitting that now represents their best chance of silverware.
The Italian said: "Everyone is waiting for this game. We want to do our best and want to show our best ability and we know there are 180 minutes to play and we hope to win. In the title race we have to close the gap, in the Champions League we are at the same level of the other teams so we have more chance to win."
He added: "It will not be a surprise to play against them, they know us very well and we know them very well.
"We have to play our football and I think we will do better.
"We will have a very exciting game against United, they are one of the best teams in Europe. It was important (at Stoke) to see the team in good condition and without injury so we can prepare well for this next game."
While Ancelotti may have stressed he was happy with the performance if not the result against the Potters, had it not been for the returning Didier Drogba the visitors would have had little to show for their efforts.
The Ivory Coast international scored Chelsea's equaliser with a trademark power header in the 33rd minute to cancel out Jon Walters' early individual breakaway goal from the halfway line.
In the second half he also hit the post and the crossbar and was easily the Stamford Bridge side's most threatening player - even after the 61st-minute introduction of Â£50million January signing Fernando Torres.
The Spain international has now gone 662 minutes without scoring for club or country, a spell of 10 matches spanning back to late January when he hit two for former club Liverpool. Drogba seems certain to start against United at Stamford Bridge in midweek while Torres could well be on the bench again.