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Ballack confident Chelsea can reclaim title

Michael Ballack claims Chelsea are "confident'' of winning back the Premier League title.

The Blues enter the new campaign under the guidance of Carlo Ancelotti, appointed as permanent successor to caretaker manager Guus Hiddink, looking to secure a first domestic championship since 2006.

Much of the recent talk has been over whether Chelsea will be able to hold on to their captain John Terry, said to be meeting club officials this week for discussions over an improved deal following continued interest from big-spending Manchester City, who are ready to table a £40million bid.

Ballack believes the fact the club have, apart from fringe players Ross Turnbull and Daniel Sturridge, so far added only Yuri Zhirkov, the Russian midfielder for a reported £18m, will mean Chelsea head into the campaign with pretty much a settled side to give them a head start over Manchester United, who have lost both Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez this summer.

"It is our target every year to win the league and we are confident about winning the title,'' said Ballack, quoted in the London Evening Standard. "I think we had a good season last year, but United have played at a really high level the last few years.

"They made it really difficult for us to win the League in 2007 and 2008, but we were really close behind and last season we also finished behind Liverpool, who had a strong season. There are a few moments which decide every championship but we are confident it will be different next time. We have a very experienced squad.''

Ballack added: "We haven't added a lot of new players, so we don't need much time to get into our rhythm.''

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