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Liverpool without Wijnaldum vs. Tottenham

English Premier League
By ESPN Staff

Essien determined to lift Champions League crown

Michael Essien insists new boss Carlo Ancelotti can help Chelsea achieve their Champions League ambitions.

Chelsea have reached five semi-finals and one final in the last six years and are desperate to win European football's top trophy.

Essien believes the Italian coach, who won two Champions League titles with AC Milan, has all the credentials to lead the Blues to glory in Europe.

"We are already enjoying his company and methods,'' said Essien. "Everyone knows we have been in five Champions League semi-finals in six years and one final.

"We are desperate to win the biggest trophy in club football and I strongly believe our new boss can help us do it. He has been there, done it and got the shirt for it and we are already getting the vibe from him.

"The squad has been together for a long time and we are all yearning and hungry for more trophies.''

Chelsea begin their Premier League campaign under Ancelotti against Hull at Stamford Bridge.

Striker Nicolas Anelka could be the next player to discuss a contract extension with the club.

Anelka, 30, has played for five clubs in the last seven years but has settled in west London and scored 19 goals in the Premier League last season.

The France frontman has been particularly impressive in pre-season when he played alongside Didier Drogba.

Both Drogba and winger Florent Malouda agreed new contract extensions this summer and Anelka, who has two years left to run on his current deal, may be next in line.

"I think we will be having talks with Chelsea next week about Nicolas' contract,'' said his agent Doug Pingisi. "Nicolas has two years left on his present contract and I think Chelsea would like to extend it.

"We plan to sit down and have talks with Chelsea about Nicolas' future.''

Drogba suspects the title race will be more keenly fought than ever in the coming season.

However the Ivory Coast international believes Chelsea can come out on top at home and in Europe.

"The fact that the Chelsea squad has not changed much is a good thing,'' Drogba told L'Equipe. "It will be our biggest asset this season. The Premier League is harder and harder every year, and the new season will be more difficult without a doubt.

"For the last three seasons Manchester United have won the title and they have deserved to. But we will be doing our best to change that. Of course they are the team to beat, but we showed in the Community Shield that we can do that.

"Personally, I feel fine at Chelsea and I want to win titles here. I want to win the Premier League title again, but my main priority is (winning) the Champions League. I am convinced we can do that this season.''


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