No gamble to start Torres at United: Ancelotti

Carlo Ancelotti insists it would not be a gamble to start with Fernando Torres in Chelsea's crucial clash against Manchester United on Sunday.

Updated: May 07, 2011 10:32 IST
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Cobham: Carlo Ancelotti insists it would not be a gamble to start with Fernando Torres in Chelsea's crucial clash against Manchester United on Sunday.

Ancelotti's side can snatch first place from United and take the initiative in the title race with a victory at Old Trafford, but to do that the Blues boss has to find the right formula to get the best out of his strikers.

Torres has struggled since his British record £50 million transfer from Liverpool in January, scoring just once in 15 matches, and he looked out of sorts again in last weekend's 2-1 win over Tottenham.

Ancelotti managed to find a place for Torres against Spurs by shifting Didier Drogba out of positon to the right of a three-man attack, but the Spain forward failed to repay his manager's faith.

It was Drogba who looked the more dangerous, just as he did when he came off the bench to score against United in Chelsea's recent Champions League defeat at Old Trafford.

Drogba also scored for the Blues when they won 2-1 at United last season, but Ancelotti refused to rule out starting with Torres this weekend.

"It is not a gamble, Torres is a fantastic striker, it is not a gamble to start with him," Ancelotti said on Friday.

"It is not easy to choose the right players. For a lot of reasons a lot of players deserve to play at the moment."

"Usually I change the strikers during the games and the substitutions were good. Didier (Drogba), (Salomon) Kalou and Torres have all come on and done well."

"Kalou has scored a lot of goals and Torres scored against West Ham."

"It doesn't matter what players start. In any case it depends as we might want to play differently with two strikers or two wingers."

"I want my players to understand it is not so important to start the game."

"To win this game we don't need just 11 players, we need everyone to give everything even if they only play for 20 minutes."

Ancelotti must also decide how to contain United's in-form duo of Wayne Rooney and Ryan Giggs.

England forward Rooney has thrived since being moved back to a deeper role behind Javier Hernandez, while Giggs supplied assists for United's goals in their Champions League quarter-final win over Chelsea.

Ancelotti doesn't plan to man-mark either star but he acknowledges his players must be aware of the threat they will pose.

"There are no secrets between Chelsea and Man United but from the Champions League game I learned that Rooney and Giggs are their best players at present," Ancelotti said.

"Giggs provided the balls for their goals and it is difficult to stop Rooney because he has fantastic skills."

"Obviously we have to do something to contain him but we never put one player against him. The most important thing is to stay compact."

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