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Page last updated at 16:55 GMT, Friday, 17 December 2010

Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti wants Man Utd win boost

Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti
Ancelotti's side last won in the league against Fulham on 10 November

Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti believes a win over Manchester United on Sunday will help his team reassert the defence of their Premier League title.

The Blues, without a win in five league outings, are three points behind United, who also have a game in hand.

"It is good for confidence to say you can beat Manchester United as we did last year," said Ancelotti.

"It is good for the personality and character of the team. This game could be a fantastic moment for us."

Chelsea managed a 1-1 draw at Tottenham last time out but missed the chance of beating their London rivals when striker Didier Drogba had an injury-time penalty saved.

Despite the setback, Ancelotti insists there has been an improvement in the mood of the Stamford Bridge outfit's camp and that they have turned the corner following their recent travails.

I'm going into the game with a strong, confident squad. You want to go there in good form and we are in good form

Man Utd boss Sir Alex Ferguson

"There is a different atmosphere at the training ground this week," added the Italian. "I think we have got past that difficult moment and we can use this game as a fantastic motivation to get better.

"It is difficult to compare a victory against Man United with another victory. It is still three points but to beat Man United, one of the best teams in Europe, could be fantastic for the atmosphere in the squad."

Chelsea beat United in both top-flight games on the way to beating them to the Premier League title by one point last season and they last lost to the Old Trafford side at home in April 2002.

"It is a big one for us," United manager Sir Alex Ferguson told his club's website. "Our record down there has been poor over the last eight years.

"We have managed a few draws, but we've lost a few too. They are a tough team to beat on their own ground.

"When [former Chelsea boss] Jose [Mourinho] came he made sure they were very solid at home. That has carried on.

"They are a very experienced side. The last six years, in terms of the title race, have been about Manchester United and Chelsea so you are going to get tough games between us."

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"I'm going into the game with a strong, confident squad. You want to go there in good form and we are in good form," he said.

"They are a tough team to beat on their own ground - their home record tells you that.

"Our record down there has been poor over the last eight years. We've managed a few draws, but we've lost a few too."

United will be without 36-year-old midfielder Paul Scholes, who has a persistent groin injury, for the trip and he is not likely to return until January, according to the club.

Scholes picked up his injury in the 1-0 win over Rangers on 24 November and has so far missed the Red Devils' Premier League victories against Arsenal and Blackburn as well as Carling Cup defeat to West Ham and the 1-1 draw with Valencia in the Champions League.

His hopes of a return in Monday's victory over the Gunners were dashed after he was forced out of a training session on Sunday.

There are a lot of important games and it is too early to say it is decisive

Carlo Ancelotti

The estimate that he will not be back in action until January effectively rules him out of league matches at home to Sunderland on Boxing Day and away to Birmingham on 28 December.

But Chelsea's Frank Lampard is set for his first start in almost four months.

Lampard, 32, made a brief substitute appearance against Tottenham on Sunday after unexpectedly being named on the bench.

Ancelotti said Lampard would start against United at Stamford Bridge providing the player suffers no reaction to the training game.

The England midfielder, who has been battling to return from a nagging hernia problem, came through a 60-minute practice match on Thursday.

He scored in the game, which took place at Chelsea's Cobham training ground, involving players from the club's reserve and youth teams.

However, while Ancelotti believes the impact of a win may be significant for his side, he does not think a defeat would end their title hopes.

"It will be an important game but it is not a decisive game because there are a lot of teams involved at the top of the table who are fighting and thinking they can win the title," said Ancelotti.

"There are a lot of important games and it is too early to say it is decisive.

"The quality at the top is the same. The difference is last year Manchester City and Tottenham weren't involved at the top. Now there is more balance.

"Playing against Man United or Arsenal is always one of the most important games of the season.

"United were our most difficult opponents last year. They fought for the title until the last game and I think it will be same this year.

"We were able to win both games against them last year. This time it is a different story. They arrive for this game in a better position than us and with good confidence.

"They have the advantage in the table. We want to use this game to improve our position and stay close to them."



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see also
Chelsea v Manchester United
17 Dec 10 |  Premier League
Scholes doubtful for Arsenal game
08 Dec 10 |  Man Utd
Tottenham 1-1 Chelsea
12 Dec 10 |  Premier League
Injury problems mount for Man Utd
11 Nov 10 |  Man Utd
Ancelotti plays down Terry fears
19 Nov 10 |  Chelsea
Terry to see Italian specialist
17 Nov 10 |  Chelsea
Lampard suffers fresh injury blow
12 Nov 10 |  Chelsea
Lampard eyeing return to action
05 Oct 10 |  Chelsea


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