Chelsea's Ancelotti has eyes only for first place

22 October 2009 12:57
LONDON (AFP) - Carlo Ancelotti warned his Chelsea stars that only first place will do after Salomon Kalou and Frank Lampard inspired a 4-0 Champions League rout of Atletico Madrid.[LNB]Ancelotti's side moved within touching distance of a place in the last 16 thanks to their clinical display against the woeful Spaniards at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.[LNB]But, more importantly for Ancelotti, the Blues are top of Group D at the halfway stage and he wants them to stay there as it guarantees a home second leg against one of the group runners-up in the first knockout round.[LNB]"We are in control of the group now. Our aim is to arrive in first place because it is important for the rest of the Champions League," Ancelotti said.[LNB]"That is not certain yet and we need more points. It has not been easy without Didier Drogba but all the players have done well in this competition."[LNB]Chelsea travel to Atletico and then Porto in their next two matches before finishing at home to Apoel Nicosia and two wins from those three games would guarantee top spot.[LNB]Ancelotti will have Drogba back as the Ivory Coast striker has now served his three-match European suspension.[LNB]But even without the powerful targetman, Chelsea were far too strong for Atletico.[LNB]Kalou made amends for a bad miss when he opened the scoring with a cool finish from Ashley Cole's cross in the 41st minute.[LNB]He added a second soon after half-time with a header from a corner by Lampard, who notched the third himself with a fine low strike for his first goal from open play this season.[LNB]Luis Perea's headed own goal in stoppage time completed a miserable experience for struggling Atletico.[LNB]Although Kalou has generally been consigned to the bench when Drogba and Anelka are fit, Ancelotti believes the erratic forward can play an important role in Chelsea's push for honours.[LNB]"Kalou is an important player for us, especially when (Didier) Drogba is out," he said.[LNB]"He started the game badly and made a big mistake but that gave him a good motivation to play well. For him it is very important to score. He played a good match."[LNB]Ancelotti was also full of praise for Lampard, who ended a 10-game drought to score his 133rd Chelsea goal - taking him past Jimmy Greaves into fifth place in the club's all-time scorers' list.[LNB]"I am happy for him for sure. Lampard is not just important for goals, he is important because he is working for 90 minutes for the team," Ancelotti added.[LNB]"He is a generous, unselfish player. If he scores it is better, but I want to speak about Lampard for his work."[LNB]Ancelotti could also take heart from Chelsea's improved defending at set-pieces after they conceded two goals from corners in Saturday's defeat at Aston Villa.[LNB]The Blues are yet to concede a goal in Europe this season and Ancelotti said: "I think we defended better on the set-plays and we also scored two goals from them.[LNB]"It means we have good jumpers and possibilities to score from set-pieces. For us this is important."[LNB]While Ancelotti can look forward to a sustained challenge in Europe, Atletico coach Abel Resino could be facing the sack after his side's latest humiliation.[LNB]Atletico have just one point from three games and are also struggling in La Liga, but Resino has no intention of quitting.[LNB]"It's not for me to say who is to blame. My job is to find solutions," he said.[LNB]"The thing to do is keep calm, not panic and work hard to prepare for the next game.[LNB]"I am a fighter. I never give up. I am not going to throw the towel in. With one result the confidence will begin to change. There have not been many games when we haven't created chances."

Source: Eurosport