Ancelotti sticks up for captain Terry

Carlo Ancelotti insisted he had “confidence” in Chelsea’s John

Terry following newspaper allegations made before Sunday’s 1-1 draw

at West Ham.

England captain Terry was reported to have taken secret cash

payments to lay on a behind-the-scenes tour of the club’s training

ground.

The Chelsea manager used his post-match press conference

after Blues had claimed a point at Upton Park to defend his

skipper.

A Sunday newspaper claimed Terry accepted £10,000 in

cash within yards of Ancelotti at the club’s Cobham training HQ to

arrange the visit for an undercover reporter.

Ancelotti said: “This is not correct. This is not true. The

club, me, the players, have a lot of confidence in John Terry and

John Terry did nothing wrong.

“He was very quiet, very calm, very concentrated for the

game. No problem.”

When asked whether Terry had told him the story was not true,

Ancelotti added: “Yes. I have a lot of confidence in my captain.”

Ancelotti did admit however, that Chelsea, who stretched

their lead over Manchester United at the top of the Premier League

to four points, were feeling the pressure going into the festive

period.

He said: “We didn’t play a good match. We met a strong, hard

team. It was a tough game.

“It is not easy to play every three days. It is not easy to

prepare. Now we have one week to prepare for the next game and we

will improve.

“But we have four points more than anybody in the league and

we can have a good Christmas.”

Ancelotti had the nerve of Frank Lampard and the decision of

an assistant referee to thank for his side’s point in a match

decided by two penalties.

The first was slotted home in the first half by Alessandro

Diamanti after Ashley Cole had brought down Jack Collison.

The second-half equaliser came from the spot when Matthew

Upson was adjudged to have fouled Daniel Sturridge, a decision

which angered West Ham boss Gianfranco Zola.

Television replays revealed Upson had made a sound tackle but

the assistant referee waved his flag and persuaded referee Mike

Dean to change his original decision.

Zola said: “The referee got it right in the first place then

the linesman put his flag up and the referee changed his mind.

“His first impression was the right one. Pity he did not stay

with that. The players were disappointed. The linesman put the flag

up and that’s why he gave it.

“It’s a pity because the referee was better positioned than

the linesman. He was closer to the action.”

Lampard had to take the penalty three times due to

encroachment, but beat Robert Green comfortably on each occasion.

Zola was delighted with the battling performance which

ensured the Hammers are not bottom of the Premier League at

Christmas.

Zola said: “I am happy because the attitude, the passion and

the courage of my players was remarkable. It was a good starting

point and it will affect everyone from now on.

“They were tired but they didn’t look like it. They could

have played another 90 minutes.

“In the past we played some good games but I never felt the

atmosphere we had today. The players were encouraging each other,

working off each other. It really was contagious.

“Everybody was involved in it. There was a positive feeling.

It kept everyone very sharp.”

The one setback was defender Danny Gabbidon picking up a

hamstring injury early on which could keep him out of the festive

fixtures.