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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Apr 1, 2008

Chelsea have quality to win UCL insists Anelka

Nicolas Anelka believes Chelsea have the quality to win the Champions League this season and is ready to bide his time on the bench or the wing to start his trophy haul with the club.

Anelka, 29, returns to former club Fenerbahce as Avram Grant's men look to seize the initiative in their Champions League quarter-final, with the France striker having come full circle since he left Istanbul.

He joined Bolton in August 2006 before signing for Chelsea in the January transfer window earlier this year.

Now playing in the tournament he won with Real Madrid, Anelka feels he can achieve the same with Chelsea.

``Like Real Madrid we are a big club with a big squad and big players,'' he said.

``It's always difficult to win the Champions League but I think we have the quality to win this title because of the way we play and the number of big players we have.''

Anelka was bought to bolster Chelsea's chances of a first Champions League triumph, although Didier Drogba is the preferred lone striker and he has often been played on the flanks or left out.

When paired together recently against Arsenal the pair turned the match and inspired victory from the jaws of defeat, but Anelka is happy to play wherever Grant selects him.

``I'm very new at the club so I need to get used to my team-mates and learn the way we play,'' he added.

``It's not difficult, when the manager asks me to play I play, when he asks me to be on the bench I try to help the team when I go on.

``It will be the same until the end of my contract. I'm just pleased to be here and playing for Chelsea and will try my best all the time.

``When we have the chance to play together we will do it the best we can, it will be good. But you have a manager who decides what to do and I think he knows what to do.

``For the moment he wants to play three (forwards) and me on the left or right so I will do my best to play in that position.

``We have to work also in training. Chelsea play with one striker up front so first we have to do it in training and after we will do it in a game. As long as we are winning...''

Anelka has fond memories of Istanbul after winning the league title in his first season, although the manner of his departure means a mixed reception is likely when the first leg of the tie gets under way at Sukru Saracoglu Stadium.

``When we won the title we went to the city centre on the open-top bus and it took us four hours to do 500 metres,'' Anelka recalled.

As for tomorrow night he added: ``We have to stay focused. We know how to do it and the most important thing is to come back to London with something good.

``Our fans have to come and support the players and I think every time we've come away they have done that. The message I would say is to do the same like they usually do.''

Grant managed Maccabi Tel Aviv in the same stadium 11 years ago but only managed a 1-1 draw which meant they failed to progress, but he is confident of a better outcome this time.

With Fenerbahce undefeated at home in the Champions League this season, Chelsea could be relying on their stubborn defence to keep them on top.

A record of six consecutive clean sheets has been the feature of their European campaign, rather than entertaining in the manner Zico's Fenerbahce have.

``We try all the time to combine both of them but you cannot do it all the time,'' Grant said. ``In the Champions League it's more important to qualify.

``If you play good (football) you have a better chance to qualify.

``So we will try to do both but the most important thing after these two game is to be in the semi-finals.

``They play good football but we believe in our strength to win, even if we know it will be two tough games.''

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