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Lack of goals worries Ancelotti ahead of Man Utd trip


Ancelotti has faith in Torres

Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti says his team must improve if they are to turn around Tuesday's Champions League quarter-final with Manchester United.

Ancelotti was speaking after Saturday's ugly 1-0 win over Wigan, the latest in a series of below-par Blues displays.

"We have more difficulty compared to last season to score a lot of goals," said the Italian. "We are not able to convert the chances that we create.

"To win there [Old Trafford], we have to play at our 100%."

Chelsea face a daunting task in Manchester on Wednesday, after losing the home leg of their quarter-final tie 1-0.

The Red Devils have never lost a European tie having won the first leg away from home, and on only two previous occasions has a club won a Champions League tie after being defeated in the first leg at home.

Chelsea can draw on the experience of having beaten United 2-1 in last season's league meeting at Old Trafford, but they were en route to that year's Premier League title and in a much better vein of form then than they are now.

Don't judge a player by the money he earns or that the club paid for the transfer. Judge by his behaviour on the pitch

Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti on Fernando Torres

The Blues were laboured throughout Saturday's single-goal victory over struggling Wigan, which leaves them 11 points behind United and maintains their slim hopes of retaining their league crown.

Spanish striker Fernando Torres was as guilty as anyone after missing a golden opportunity to end his now-infamous 12-hour goal drought.

The £50m January signing from Liverpool came off the bench on the hour mark and had several opportunties to score, not least when he was set up perfectly by Yossi Benayoun but saw his shot saved by Wigan keeper Ali Al Habsi.

"Every one of us wanted him to score today," said Ancelotti. "Sometimes, he was really unlucky.

"But I think we have to continue to have confidence in him. Maybe he will score the most important goals of our season."

Despite this public backing, Ancelotti also declared he would not be afraid to drop the Blues record signing for Tuesday's European match.

"Fernando might not start against United, of course," said Ancelotti.

"Why not? I have to choose the best line-up. There's a lot of competition up front and anything can happen.

"I have to choose the players, not comparing the players with the money the club paid for them.

"I have to choose the line-up looking at the training sessions, the condition of the players and the spirit. Fernando knows this very well."

And asked if he feared owner Roman Abramovich's reaction if he left the player out of his side, Ancelotti commented: "No. I never thought that.

"Roman's so intelligent, he'd never ask me not to do that."

Ancelotti was criticised for keeping Torres on the field in the 1-0 first-leg defeat by United at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday, while strike partner Didier Drogba was replaced.

It only added to rumours that the signing of Spain international Torres was on the whim of Abramovich, something Ancelotti has always denied.

Ancelotti, who sold Andriy Shevchenko to Chelsea for around £30m while in charge of AC Milan, refused to be drawn on the similarities. The Ukrainian was another striker, reportedly signed at Abramovich's behest, who proved to be an expensive flop in London.

Chelsea goal was a 'crime' - Martinez

Instead, Ancelotti claimed everyone associated with Chelsea was willing Torres to come good.

"As soon as he scores his first goal, it will be like every Chelsea fan will have scored," he said.

"Don't judge a player by the money he earns or that the club paid for the transfer. Judge by his behaviour on the pitch.

"And he has fantastic behaviour here now, as a worker, not just to score.

"I've spoken with him a lot of times, to stay focused on the job and confident. If the aim was just to score, he'd play every game. But we want him fit to work for the team.

"We don't ask him to score, score, score every time. This is not the right way to help him.

"Obviously, I don't know what he really feels inside, but outside he's relaxed, confident in training, he likes to joke and have fun in training. I don't see him afraid or worried."

Statistics appear to show Torres has lost some of his blistering pace following an injury-blighted 2010.

But Ancelotti said: "He was not 100% when he arrived here.

"The big problem was in the summer when he had a tear on his hamstring. But in the last few months, he has improved."

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see also
Chelsea 1-0 Wigan
09 Apr 11 |  Premier League
Ancelotti questions ref 'courage'
06 Apr 11 |  Europe
Chelsea to assess Ancelotti role
20 Mar 11 |  Chelsea
Chelsea pay record fee for Torres
31 Jan 11 |  Chelsea

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