Ancelotti urges players to believe
Carlo Ancelotti said belief and courage will be key if Chelsea are to defy history by completing an extraordinary Champions League comeback at Manchester United on Tuesday night.
Ancelotti revealed he plans to produce something "special" tactically after analysing the first leg, won 1-0 by United at Stamford Bridge, but he said his players' ability to overcome the mental hurdle awaiting them at Old Trafford could ultimately decide the tie.
The Blues boss urged his players to believe sincerely they could become the first team ever to knock United out of Europe having lost the first leg of a tie at home. Only two clubs have ever produced an equivalent turnaround in the Champions League but Ancelotti has insisted there is no reason why Chelsea could not become the third at Old Trafford.
Ancelotti said: "In Italy, we have a saying. 'If you have two, then you next have three'. They have to truly believe that we can win there. I don't know if they will be able to do this. But, at the start of the game, you have to believe that you can win.''
Ancelotti knows his side need to produce a near-flawless performance at Old Trafford if they are to overturn Wednesday night's first-leg defeat at Stamford Bridge.
"To win there, you have to do 100% in everything,'' he said. "And not just 100%, but you have to use personality, courage, you have to control the game.''
It would take an remarkable improvement from Chelsea to produce such a performance. They did win at Old Trafford last season in a game that ultimately decided the Premier League title but that was during a scintillating run. There could hardly be a greater contrast this term, with the Blues languishing 11 points behind United in the league and struggling to score goals. Ancelotti admitted his players were not showing enough teamwork at present.
"Everyone is trying to resolve this problem we have individually,'' he said after watching his side stutter to a 1-0 win over Wigan on Saturday. "Obviously, it's better to stay in focus and work more with each other.''
Solving Chelsea's problems is ultimately the responsibility of Ancelotti, who is in real danger of overseeing their worst season since Roman Abramovich bought the club. Other managers have been fired for less but Ancelotti was confident on Friday that defeat to United would not ultimately cost him his job. Nevertheless, he was determined yesterday to leave no stone unturned ahead of Tuesday's do-or-die showdown.
Revealing he planned a forensic analysis of the first leg, he said: "I'll watch the game one, two or three times. I want to try to do something special for the next game.''
He would not resort to motivational tricks, however.
"I have to watch the game and prepare something that we can do to create difficulties,'' Ancelotti said. "I have to explain to the players the ability of the opposing team. They can go to the movies without me.''