Carlo’s keen to conquer England

Ancelotti knows Chelsea’s season will close with an FA Cup final

appearance at Wembley on May 15. He can also be reasonably secure

the same fate as the one that befell the three men who guided the

Blues to season-ending showpieces in the previous three campaigns

will not befall him either. Avram Grant and Guus Hiddink,

admittedly of his own accord, were gone within days, whilst Jose

Mourinho’s tempestuous tenure was brought to a dramatic conclusion

before he even had a chance to think about who Chelsea would play

at the start of their defence of the FA Cup that had been won in

the spring of 2007. However, Ancelotti intends to keep driving on.

His mantra continues to be “one game at a time”. But when pushed,

as he peers down from the top of the Premier League, he conceded

the FA Cup in itself would be poor consolation for missing out on

the main prize. “We are top of the table, so I can say no, I

wouldn’t be satisfied,” said Ancelotti. “I want to win the Premier

League.” It is only three weeks since Chelsea’s season was in

tatters. Dumped out of Europe by Inter Milan and held to a costly

draw by Blackburn at Ewood Park, garnering any kind of silverware

this season appeared to be a hopeless task. A clinical five-goal

destruction of Portsmouth at Fratton Park changed the course of

their campaign, which now leaves Ancelotti on the brink of a famous

achievement. Less than 12 months after replacing Hiddink, with no

prior knowledge of the English game apart from the experiences he

had in a lifetime’s devotion to AC Milan as a player and coach,

Ancelotti is six wins away from making Chelsea only the seventh

club to achieve the domestic league and FA Cup double. Serial

silverware gatherer Sir Alex Ferguson always stresses how hard it

is to win trophies. Easy is not the word Ancelotti uses. But

apparently not as difficult as where he has come from. “It is not

harder to win trophies here compared to Italy,” he said. “You have

a lot of the same things. “Maybe it is easier here because there is

less pressure on the players. Their life is quieter. “With less

pressure you can recover better.” Save for finding himself in the

middle of another controversy, skipper John Terry should be fit for

Tuesday’s encounter with Bolton at Stamford Bridge. Central

defensive partner Alex does have a minor ankle problem, although

the Brazilian is expected to recover in time to face Owen Coyle’s

side, who do not look capable of halting the Chelsea bandwagon.

There are a couple of significant tests; next Saturday’s trip to

Tottenham and the visit to Liverpool in the first weekend of May.

However, having finally settled on a formation that suits his team,

even if it comes at the expense of either Didier Drogba or Nicolas

Anelka, Ancelotti’s natural optimism can spread throughout the

dressing room. “We have had a lot of problems but we have never

lost our confidence or optimism,” he said. “I have a very good

squad and I have some very good players. “We lost some to the

African Nations Cup in January but the players who came in did very

well. “Until now, the team has done a good job. It could be a

fantastic season for us. “But we have won nothing yet.”