Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti insists no one will take it easy as he bids to dethrone champions Manchester United


Chelsea coach Carlo Ancelotti did not look like a man ready to crack under the intense pressure of this season's title run-in as he shrugged off suggestions that the "old pals act" could provide one more twist in the tale.

Chelsea face Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday in the 1.30pm kick-off knowing victory will keep their title hopes on track.

Manchester United then kick-off at 4pm at Sunderland, a club managed by former Old Trafford captain Steve Bruce.

The two games have thrown up a number of tantalising issues for the conspiracy theorists, but Ancelotti is mindful not to get drawn into them.

He dismissed suggestions that Liverpool would not try hard enough to beat his side because doing so would open the door for rivals United to surpass their total of 18 titles.

Ancelotti was also non-plussed by the possibility that Bruce would do his old mentor Sir Alex Ferguson a favour at the Stadium of Light.

"I don't think about this," said Ancelotti. "I think that Sunderland will do their best to beat United and Liverpool will do the same against us.

"Every team has respect for this Premier League and every team has to do their best until the end of the matches.

"We have to pay attention because Liverpool are a strong team and it's very difficult to win at Anfield, but we have to try. We need to have three more points after Sunday.

"I am pleased to play first but I said we have one more point than United. With two victories we can be champions, so we have to focus on our game and not think about Sunderland's result.

"We are not interested in that. We want to be champions and that's the only important thing."

Liverpool's Europa League exertions and their ultimate semi-final exit to Atletico Madrid may also have given Chelsea the edge in terms of fitness and spirit but, even if he might think it privately, Ancelotti was guarded with his public comments.


"We have to play against a strong team with good players," added the Italian. "We saw those good players against Madrid. This is in our minds.

"We have to play against fantastic players in a very difficult stadium, a very difficult atmosphere, because we know how the supporters of Liverpool support the team.

"I don't know if it's better for us to play a Liverpool side who did not make final of the Europa League.

"They played for two hours so maybe they'll be a little bit tired, but I've never seen Liverpool look tired at Anfield. They play a strong 90 minutes every game. I think they will do the same on Sunday."

Only when the subject of Liverpool's injured striker Fernando Torres was raised did Ancelotti let the mask slip a little.

"They have the most important injury, to have Torres out is a disadvantage for them because he's one of the most important strikers in the world," said Ancelotti.

"So, maybe with this, they have a problem. But the team that played against Atletico was a very good team. They didn't get to the final, but they played a good match in my opinion."

Ancelotti cannot afford any more errors and he knows it. The most burning issue will be answered within the opening quarter of their clash with Liverpool because if Chelsea fail to start with any kind of tempo, they will be in trouble.

Their last away game ended in a 2-1 defeat at Tottenham when the Blues simply failed to turn up. A repeat performance could have grave repercussions for their title hopes.


"I'm going to say the opposite to what I said before the Tottenham game," said Ancelotti.

"I think it's very easy for me to give motivation to my players for this game, this kind of game, a very important match.

"We have 180 minutes before the end of the season and we have to stay focused for every minute, keep our best concentration, and if we do that we can be champions.

"It's not usual for me to tell my players, 'We have to win'. We will win if we do the things that we do at our best.

"We have to stay focused to play well, to play at our best, to maintain our concentration for 90 minutes, to play together.

"These are the things I usually tell my players before games."

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