Ancelotti warns title won't be won at United

Carlo Ancelotti insists Chelsea should not start dreaming about another Premier League title even if they take top spot from Manchester United on Sunday.

Updated: May 07, 2011 11:00 IST
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Cobham: Carlo Ancelotti insists Chelsea should not start dreaming about another Premier League title even if they take top spot from Manchester United on Sunday.

Ancelotti's side will leapfrog United into first place if they beat the leaders at Old Trafford in the most eagerly-anticipated showdown of the season.

But the Italian refuses to bill the clash as a title decider because he is well aware United could still overhaul the reigning champions in the final two matches of the season whatever the result this weekend.

Chelsea would be ahead of United only on goal difference with a victory and even if Ancelotti's men win their remaining fixtures at home to Newcastle and at Everton, Sir Alex Ferguson's team could land the title by recording bigger winning scores in their final games at Blackburn and at home to Blackpool.

"Obviously they are favourites for the title because they have three points more. If we win, nothing is decided but if they win they win the title. For this reason they have the advantage," Ancelotti said on Friday.

"And even if we are able to win the goal difference will be important.

"We have to play very difficult games against Newcastle and Everton so nothing is decided, but it will be important to reach the top of the table after a very long time.

"We are honest enough to say United has the advantage, but we have closed the gap quickly and we want to do our best to win on Sunday."

Ancelotti readily admits he had given up on retaining the title when Chelsea fell 15 points behind United earlier this year.

But a title race that looked set to finish with a whimper is now set to finish in sensational fashion after United dropped points while Chelsea reeled off eight wins in their last nine league games.

"Nobody thought we were able to fight for the title, we just spoke about qualifying for the Champions League because 15 points behind was too much but we were able to close the gap," Ancelotti said.

"We did really well to come back. We are happy and excited about this. This team is still alive."

"The turning point was when Man United lost against Arsenal last Sunday. If we were six points behind it was not so interesting to play Man United."

Ancelotti knows that realistically United would be happy with a draw on Sunday as they can then guarantee a record 19th league title by winning their last two games.

So a turbulent season for Chelsea now comes down to just one game and Ancelotti has told his players to treat the match like a cup final.

"It is not the shape of the team that will decide this game," he said. "This game will be decided through the courage and personality of the players."

"They dont need to be afraid of this game, they have to play with character."

"For us it is like a final. We wanted to play the final of the Champions League but we have to be happy to play this kind of final."

"We have to prepare like a final and stay as relaxed as possible even when there is a lot of pressure."

United's formidable record at Old Trafford - where they have won 16 of their 17 home league games this season - suggests Chelsea will have their work cut out.

Ferguson's team are also on a high after thrashing Schalke to book their place in the Champions League final in midweek.

But Ancelotti takes heart from his side's 2-1 victory in a crucial game at Old Trafford last season that put them in pole position to win the league.

"Obviously I want to remind my players of that," Ancelotti said. "Last year we needed to win there and we won. This year I hope it will be the same."

"But I understand it is different for Man United. Last year they had just lost to Bayern Munich and had (Wayne) Rooney injured."

"This year they reached the Champions League final. Their momentum is different. We will have to fight against a very good team, playing in a fantastic moment."

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