Ancelotti reiterates Cole stance

England left-back Cole has been repeatedly linked with a move to

Real Madrid this summer, amid reports he wants to quit the UK

following revelations about his private life. However, on Friday

Blues boss Ancelotti refused to budge on his hardline stance over

the 29-year-old, who is less than a year into a four-year contract

at Stamford Bridge. “I don’t need to speak with Ashley Cole,” said

the Italian, before reiterating his position on the matter. “I read

that Ashley Cole wants to leave. “My answer was I want Ashley Cole

to stay at Chelsea because he’s a fantastic player and there is no

price for which sell him.” Ancelotti insisted he had heard nothing

from Madrid about Cole, who was brought to Chelsea four years ago

by their new manager Jose Mourinho. And he rubbished comparisons

with the departure of Joe Cole, who left for Liverpool last month

despite the Italian having previously been confident he would stay.

“Joe Cole was a financial problem – it was not a technical

problem,” Ancelotti said. “They didn’t achieve an agreement with

the club about his salary. This is not the problem of Ashley Cole.

“Ashley Cole has a contract – I don’t know how long is his contract

– and you want to respect this.” Ancelotti confirmed Cole would

start Sunday’s Community Shield clash, which comes almost a year to

the day since the Italian’s first competitive match in charge of

Chelsea. He confessed to having doubts when he first took over at

Stamford Bridge and claimed he was a better manager than a year

ago. “I have more knowledge about my players, about my club, about

the atmosphere in England, about the English teams,” said

Ancelotti, who nevertheless expects retaining the Premier League

title he won at the first attempt to be tougher than relieving

Manchester United of it proved. “I think for us it will be more

difficult this year because everyone knows that they have to play

the winner from last year,” said Ancelotti. “We have to pay

attention because we could have a surprise every game. “For this

reason, I think we have to maintain better concentration – if we

want to maintain the same level that we achieved last year.” That

was enough to win the double, an even tougher act to emulate. But

Ancelotti said: “The pressure is the same. “We start this season

with the aim to win something, the aim to be competitive until the

end of the season. “If we are able to win again this year, that

could be fantastic.” Recalling Chelsea’s one major disappointment

from last term, he added: “Obviously, we want to do better in the

Champions League.”