Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti insists Manchester United are still favourites to win the English Premier League.But he believes his in-form team can still cause an upset in the title six-pointer at Old Trafford on Sunday.
Chelsea can go top of the table on goal difference if they beat United this weekend having been 15 points behind at one stage.
“For the title obviously they are favourites because they have three points more,” he said. “If we win nothing is decided, if they win the title is decided.”
“But for us it’s fantastic to think that we can fight for the title because nobody thought two months ago we were able to do this. We have done really well in two months and we are excited for this and very happy.”
“We are honest to say Manchester has an advantage but we want to do our best to try to win the game on Sunday. It is 90 minutes and who does better has to win. And our team is in good form.”
Chelsea head into the match without the injured Jose Bosingwa, while Yuri Zhirkov will need a late fitness test. But having won four Premier League games in a row since being knocked out of the Champions League by United, they are full of confidence.
“This game is a fantastic opportunity and every player is very excited and also happy because the season is not gone – even though a lot of people spoke about it during the season. This team is still alive and this means these players have a very good character, very good personality and are very professional,” Ancelotti said.
“After the defeat against Man United in the Champions League it was not easy to move on and the reaction was fantastic. Nobody said we could come back to fight for the title because 15 points was too much to close the title.”
“So this match is like a final for us. We wanted to play the Champions League final but we have to be happy to play this final instead.”
“We can’t compare but it’s a very important game for us and we have to prepare this game like a final. You have to stay relaxed, there is a lot of pressure around you but you have to have the skills to stay relaxed, keep control of your emotions and don’t worry too much because that can drain energy and you need all your energy to win the game.”
Ancelotti, who controversially played Fernando Torres ahead of Didier Drogba when the teams met in the Champions League and had to take him off at half-time with his side 2-0 down, refused to reveal who will play this time. But he insists it would not be a risk to choose Torres again.
“It’s not a gamble. Torres is a fantastic striker,” he said.
“I don’t know who will play, I haven’t decided the line-up yet.”
“The line-up will be important but it’s not the shape that can decide the game, this game will be decided through the courage and personality of the players. The shape 4-4-2 or -4-3-3 is not so important and it’s the same for Man United.”
“It’s not easy to choose the right players because for a lot of reasons a lot of players deserve to play. I will check them in training and check their condition and I will choose the players tactically also.”
“The good thing is usually I change the strikers during the game and the substitutes were really good. Sometimes Didier comes in from the bench and scores and also Kalou did really well to and Torres scored against West Ham.”
“I want my players to understand it’s not so important to start the game, it’s important to be involved and do your best. A lot of times we won a game from the players who come on from the bench.”
“To win this game we don’t need only 11 players, we need all of the players involved and motivated. I hope we can do this.”