x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Ancelotti is keeping his cool for Chelsea

For someone who has won 24 trophies as a player and manager, Carlo Ancelotti is too experienced to show any nerves.

For someone who has won 24 trophies as a player and manager, Carlo Ancelotti is too experienced to show any nerves. Defiantly, he has claimed not to be haunted by the "ghost" of Jose Mourinho, whose track record at Stamford Bridge, two Premier League titles in three seasons, has seen successors ousted if they fail to match him. Nor will Ancelotti fret about Manchester United as the pressure builds in the closing stages of a Premier League season filled with drama.

The reason is simple. Three games, three wins and the title is Chelsea's for the first time since 2006. With changes expected in the summer, there may be added pressure on his players, but Ancelotti has shown little sign of the same. A month ago, he remained calm and confident when Chelsea were the ones chasing United. The 2-1 defeat at Tottenham last weekend has not altered his approach as his side host Stoke today with a chance to regain the lead in the table from Manchester United, who are two points ahead.

"I am excited because it's a very important moment of the season; maybe the most important moment," Ancelotti said at his pre-match press conference. "I'm not afraid and I know football very well. At the end of the season, you have to reach your aims. Sometimes we've lost some games, but I think that now we have all the quality to finish the season well; technically and physically, but also mentally."

Chelsea's Didier Drogba has called on the fans to help push them towards the title. "Sunday is the kind of game that we are going to have until the end of the season so we need them to be patient and to shout and sing and be supportive, that is the only way to win it," he said. "I remember the games when we were champions. The atmosphere was amazing. These are the kinds of atmosphere from the Chelsea supporters when it matters, and now it matters."

akhan@thenational.ae Chelsea v Stoke, 7pm, Showsports 1 & 2