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Carlo Ancelotti plays down Terry-Bridge meeting


Ancelotti focused on game, not Terry and Bridge

Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti has moved to downplay the hype around the meeting between John Terry and Wayne Bridge in Saturday's match with Manchester City.

Bridge quit England because of Terry's alleged affair with his ex-girlfriend and the pair will come face-to-face for the first time since the scandal broke.

There is speculation over whether the pair will shake hands before the match.

But Ancelotti said the other players "are not interested" and insists Terry "will stay focused on the match".

It is alleged that Terry, 29, had an affair with Vanessa Perroncel - the mother of Bridge's child.

England centre-back Terry was sacked as captain of the national side by manager Fabio Capello earlier this month after the allegations came to light.

The Chelsea Fan

And 29-year-old Bridge, a former team-mate of Terry at Chelsea, said on Thursday he no longer wished to play for England because his position in the squad had become "untenable and potentially divisive".

Much of the pre-match build-up to Saturday's Stamford Bridge clash, which pits Ancelotti's Premier League leaders against Roberto Mancini's fifth-placed City, has focused on whether or not the pair would engage in a customary pre-match handshake.

However, Ancelotti said: "I don't know how many people are interested in this. For sure, not the players."

And the former AC Milan manager is certain his skipper, Terry, possesses the necessary character to not let the falling-out distract him when the action gets underway.

"John Terry is a professional and doesn't have a problem staying focused on the match," he said.

Bridge ready to face Terry - Mancini

"I haven't spoken to him about this. I prefer to talk about football."

City boss Mancini was also keen to play down the hype surrounding the pre-match pleasantries but was less certain as to his player's ability to cope under pressure.

Asked whether Bridge was mentally ready for the Stamford Bridge clash, which pits leaders Chelsea against fifth-placed City, Mancini said: "I don't know.

"I hope that he will have a good mentality because it is important for me, it is important for him, it is important for the club that we can do a good result in London.

"And I hope that Wayne can play well."

"I think tomorrow Wayne must only concentrate on his game, not on the situation," the former Sampdoria striker added.

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see also
Chelsea 2-4 Man City
27 Feb 10 |  Premier League
Terry & Bridge decline peace bid
25 Feb 10 |  Football
Bridge turns back on England team
25 Feb 10 |  Football
Bridge ready for Man City return
05 Feb 10 |  Man City
Capello strips Terry of captaincy
05 Feb 10 |  Football
Man City players support Bridge
31 Jan 10 |  Man City
Bridge seals transfer to Man City
03 Jan 09 |  Man City
Terry appointed England captain
19 Aug 08 |  Internationals
How to watch Match of the Day
09 Aug 11 |  Match of the Day

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