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Ancelotti targets Chelsea glory in Champions League


Chelsea can win Champions League - Ancelotti

Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti believes his side can end an indifferent season by winning the Champions League.

The Blues drew 0-0 with Copenhagen to win 2-0 on aggregate and secure a place Friday's quarter-final draw.

"The team is strong enough to win it," said Ancelotti, whose side appear to be over a mid-season loss of form.

"If we play to 100%, we can make the final stages. I see my team fresh and we're in a good moment. But we can improve a lot."

Ancelotti has an almost fully fit squad at his disposal for the end of season run-in, with centre-back Alex set to return against Manchester City at the weekend and midfielder Yossi Benayoun close to a return.

That should help the Italian as he tries to steer the Blues to an elusive Champions League trophy and a late title charge, with the Stamford Bridge side nine points behind Premier League leaders Manchester United but with a game in hand.

Barcelona are the most dangerous team, but if we have to play against them, we will play

Carlo Ancelotti

And, even though a dominant Chelsea failed to score in the second leg against Copenhagen, Ancelotti was satisfied with his side's showing.

"I think the performance was good," he said. "We didn't want to take a risk for this game and prepared well.

"We had good defensive control of the game, we worked hard, and we had a lot of opportunities to score.

"We obviously need to be more precise in front of goal but these are little details. The general performance was good.

"Obviously we have to improve. We had so many chances to score and we'll have to score."

Fernando Torres has yet to score for Chelsea since his £50m move from Liverpool and started the Copenhagen game on the substitutes' bench - but Ancelotti said this was just to keep him fresh for Sunday's game with Manchester City and not because of any loss of faith.

"The only reason [he didn't start] is that we will have these players - [Michael] Essien, [Florent] Malouda and Torres - fresh for City.

"I'd already decided the selection to play against City.

"Sunday will be very important for us, for City - a very difficult game for both teams. We have to be ready to try to win."

Chelsea were beaten in the last 16 by Inter Milan in the Champions League last season but have made it to the semi-finals in five of the last seven campaigns.

They lost in the 2007 final on penalties to Manchester United.

They could be paired with United again when the quarter-finals draw is made on Friday. Barcelona, Inter Milan, Real Madrid, Schalke, Shakhtar Donetsk and Tottenham are the other teams in the hat.

Chelsea has a great physique in the team. They can outpower Barcelona

Copenhagen coach Stale Solbakken

When asked about possibly meeting English opponents, Ancelotti said: "No no, that doesn't matter. We are calm. We are quiet. The draw will decide which team we have to play."

On Barcelona, he added: "Now I don't want to say anything about this.

"Barcelona are the most dangerous team but if we have to play against them, we will play."

Barcelona are favourites to win the competition but Copenhagen coach Stale Solbakken believes Chelsea have the qualities to beat the Spanish side.

"Barcelona is at this moment a little bit stronger," said Solbakken, whose side drew and lost to Barcelona in the group stages.

"But Chelsea has a great physique in the team. They can outpower Barcelona."

Copenhagen's main chance of the game against Chelsea came when a Dame N'Doye free-kick hit the post.

"The dream would have been if the free kick had gone in," said Solbakken.

"It could have changed the game pyschologically. But the better team won [over two legs]."

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see also
Chelsea 0-0 Copenhagen (agg 2-0)
16 Mar 11 |  Europe
Wednesday football as it happened
16 Mar 11 |  Football

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