Ancelotti: Euro exit could help Blues
Chelsea's title rivals Manchester United and Arsenal remain in the quarter-finals of the Champions League, and Blues manager Ancelotti believes the physical and mental energy expended by Arsene Wenger and Sir Alex Ferguson's teams could work in his own side's favour. Arsenal boss Wenger claimed that Chelsea's exit from Europe has already mentally affected them. Ancelotti initially agreed with the Frenchman's assessment but remains confident that Chelsea could benefit physically from Arsenal and United's continued participation in the Champions League. United will face Bayern Munich on Tuesday and then welcome Chelsea to Old Trafford four days later, and Ancelotti is hoping to make the most of any United fatigue - either mental or physical. "I agree with Arsene," said Ancelotti. "Mentally, it wasn't good for us to go out of the Champions League. "But after the victory against Portsmouth, this moment is finished. We have to look at every game. We play Aston Villa tomorrow and then have a week to prepare for Manchester United. "That could be an advantage for us. Before, we had midweek games. We are disappointed to be out of the Champions League, but it could be an advantage. "The quarter-finals will take out a lot of energy, not only physically but mentally. We can take advantage of that if we prepare well our own games, and if we play with good tempo, a good high tempo. "The pressure is the same for all the teams now. We are arriving towards the end of the season and every game is very important. The pressure is normal at this stage of the season." Before they face United, Chelsea must overcome a Villa side chasing a place in the top four, who beat the Blues 2-1 earlier in the season. Ancelotti is determined not to let his players get too carried away with the battle looming at Old Trafford. "United will be an important game, but it's for three points," said Ancelotti. "We have to think about the Villa game, not the United game. "The last time we played Villa we lost, so we want to do different tomorrow. For me, now, the most important game is tomorrow. Not United. "It's a very important test. We're playing a strong team, a team that won their last game against us. "They have very good organisation, they are a very dynamic team with a lot of quick players and are good on the counter-attack and set-pieces. "It's a very important game and a very important test for us. I want to know that our bad moment is finished. "We had a very good reaction in the game at Portsmouth. A good indication for the game was that we played 90 minutes well, with the ball on the floor and determination in our game. "We were a bit lucky, too, with the first goal, but that's a good thing. That means things are changing. "At this moment in the season to have one more point or one less point is not so important. Every team - Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea - need to win their games. If you are in good condition, mental and physical, you can win. "So it's not more important to have one more or one less point. It's important to stay fit and have optimism and confidence to win the game." Chelsea's chances of landing the title have been made all the more difficult by a growing injury situation. The latest casualty, defender Ricardo Carvalho, will be out for a month but the good news is that he will not require surgery on his damaged ankle ligaments. Ancelotti is boosted by the return of midfielder Michael Ballack from the Achilles injury that kept him out of the 5-0 midweek win over Portsmouth. "Carvalho had an injury on Wednesday and will be out maybe for four weeks, and so we are unlucky at this moment," he added. "He doesn't need to have surgery. He will come to do treatment next week at the beginning of the week. "We have a problem with the defenders at the moment so we have to stay focused in our defensive positions. We all have a responsibility to do this. "If it's necessary, I'll use the younger players and they're ready to play. They don't have experience, but they have other things. They are strong, they have quality, they have grown up very well."