Ancelotti: Football is our only focus

BY foxsports • February 23, 2010

Carlo Ancelotti insists that events outside of Chelsea's dressing room will have little effect on their preparation for Wednesday night's Champions League clash with Inter Milan at the San Siro.

Chelsea left-back Ashley Cole is to separate from his wife Cheryl following a string of allegations about affairs with other women.

Their split was announced on the eve of Chelsea's last-16 tie against their former manager Jose Mourinho.

But Ancelotti, keen to play down a war of words with his Inter counterpart, insisted his squad would not be distracted by any off-the-field issues.

"I think we are focused and will be on Wednesday on this important game," said Ancelotti.

"We will not change our motivation for this game, whatever happens outside our dressing room."

Ancelotti's uneasy relationship with Mourinho stems from their time in Italy.

The pair endured a difficult time in Milan but Ancelotti, despite Mourinho's best efforts in recent days, was determined not to fall foul of his mind games.

"I will respect Inter Milan like I always have in the past," Ancelotti added. "We respect them, but to beat them we need to play at 100%.

"But if they want to beat us they will also have to play at 100%."

But Ancelotti has found himself facing a major selection headache over the left-back position.

Cole's broken ankle and a calf injury to Yury Zhirkov has left the Italian having to call upon Juliano Belletti.

Belletti has not played for over a month because of a knee injury and Chelsea's problems have been further compounded by the fact that Paulo Ferreira, who can play in that position, has not been included in the club's Champions League squad.

"It is a problem," admitted Ancelotti. "We are missing two very important players but Belletti is back in training and doing well.

"We will find a solution but Ashley and Yury are to be missed."

Mourinho has found himself unpopular among other Serie A coaches and Italian football's authorities because of his outspoken behaviour and Ancelotti had allegedly claimed that every neutral in Italy will be hoping his Chelsea side can beat Mourinho's Inter.

But Ancelotti added: "I never said this. I respect Inter Milan fully. I understand how much Inter want to win this cup but we also want to win it.

"To be honest I am not interested in Inter Milan and their dressing room.

"I think the game will be very even with two strong teams and it will be a great battle."

Ancelotti will rely heavily on Didier Drogba to get a vital away goal and the Italian remains full of praise for the Ivory Coast striker.

Drogba took his tally to 25 for the season in all competitions with a brace in the 2-0 Barclays Premier league win over Wolves on Saturday.

However, Ancelotti knows that he will have to rely on more than just one man to beat Inter.

"Didier is a very important player for us and has scored 25 goals this season," he said.

"He is in a good moment but we cannot focus on one individual to win the game. We need to play well as a team."

Mourinho, who won every domestic trophy during his time at Stamford Bridge, had earlier boasted that Chelsea's side would hold no surprises for him.

And for once former AC Milan boss Ancelotti agreed with his old sparring partner.

"In football there are no surprises any more because we can watch every game on television," said Ancelotti.

"It is not like it was 20 years ago."