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Defeat now forgotten, says Ancelotti.

Byline: Adrian Curtis

CARLO Ancelotti insists he is not feeling the pressure ahead of the Champions League clash with unfancied Apoel Nicosia following Chelsea's shock domestic loss to Wigan on Saturday.

The Italian coach preferred to draw a line under the dismal display in Lancashire and focus on maintaining a 100% record in Europe's top competition.

Wigan handed Ancelotti his first taste of defeat in England in a 3-1 victory that exposed Chelsea's weaknesses to startling effect.

But Ancelotti has held no major inquest despite senior players John Terry and the suspended Didier Drogba voicing strong criticism of the performance.

Apoel are not expected to cause Chelsea many problems despite their 1-1 draw with Atletico Madrid in the opening round of Group D, but Ancelotti is taking no chances. "There is a good pressure," said Ancelotti (pictured below). "This is an important match because it's the second match of the group. We're now at the top and we want to maintain that.

"We'll try to win, as normal. It won't be an easy game. Apoel are a good team and have a lot of enthusiasm at this moment. They did a very good job in Madrid, drawing with Atletico, and could have won there.

"We have a lot of respect for this team, but we have to put in a good match and return to playing well and have a good direction after the Wigan game. We have analysed our mistakes, for sure, but I don't want to spend a lot of time on this match. It was not a good match. Against Wigan it was not a good day.

"I want to see Chelsea play like we have in previous Premier matches and also as we have in the Champions League. We have done nothing different. Usually we analyse every game together again on a video. That's normal work for the team.

"We are not worried. We don't think about losing another game. Our thinking is to work hard, to play well and to maintain our play every game.

"We lost one game, but that can happen."

Joe Cole and Deco will be on the bench tonight and Ancelotti will not make a decision about left-back Ashley Cole until after their final training session. Cole was forced out of the Wigan game with a knee injury and the Chelsea coach does not want to take any risks with the England international. "We have to control him (Ashley) in training today," he added.

"He is better, but we want to control his training. If he stays well, he'll start.

"If there is a risk, I will use someone else. If Ashley cannot play, we'll play Yury Zhirkov." But despite the Wigan setback, Ancelotti still believes the squad possess the mental attitude to bounce back.

"I haven't worked with these players for an awful lot of time, but I like their mental attitude," added the Italian. "I don't think they've lost that.

"This game is not a test - it's the second game of the Champions League. You want to do your best in the Champions League, and we consider this game important for the group. Nothing else."

CHELSEA (from): Cech, Hilario, Turnbull, Ivanovic, A Cole, Carvalho, Terry, Belletti, Hutchinson, Bruma, Essien, Lampard, J Cole, Malouda, Zhirkov, Deco, Kalou, Sturridge, Anelka, Borini.
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Sep 30, 2009
Words:550
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