CARLO ANCELOTTI insists he is not feeling the pressure ahead of their Champions League clash with unfancied Apoel Nicosia following their shock domestic defeat by Wigan on Saturday.
The Italian coach preferred to draw a line under the dismal display in Lancashire and focus on maintaining a 100% record in Europe’s top competition.
Wigan handed Ancelotti his first taste of defeat in England in a 3-1 victory that exposed Chelsea’s weaknesses to startling effect.
But Ancelotti has held no major inquest despite senior players John Terry and the suspended Didier Drogba voicing strong criticism of the performance.
Apoel are not expected to cause Chelsea many problems despite their 1-1 draw with Atletico Madrid in the opening round of Group D, but Ancelotti is taking no chances.
“There is a good pressure,” said Ancelotti. “This is an important match because it’s the second match of the group. We’re now at the top and we want to maintain that.
“We’ll try to win, as normal. It won’t be an easy game. Apoel are a good team and have a lot of enthusiasm at this moment. They did a very good job in Madrid, drawing with Atletico, and could have won.
“We lost one game, but that can happen. We have to fix it for the next game.”
Joe Cole and Deco will be on the bench and Ancelotti will not make a decision about left-back Ashley Cole until after their final training session.
Midfielders John Mikel Obi (ankle) and Michael Ballack (calf) will both miss out.
Meanwhile, Apoel Nicosia coach Ivan Jovanovic acknowledges Chelsea as one of the best teams in Europe but insists his side could still give the Blues a scare tomorrow night.
Chelsea will face a passionate Cypriot crowd in the GSP Stadium intent on giving Carlo Ancelotti’s side another difficult night away from home in Europe.
Apoel were expected to be the whipping boys of Group D but their draw with Atletico Madrid in the opening round demonstrated they have other ideas.
Now Jovanovic wants his side to provide Chelsea with more food for thought as they attempt to pull off one of the shocks of the group stages.
“Chelsea are the best team in the group, one of the top three or four teams in the world, and they have a real chance of winning this trophy,” said Jovanovic.
“They have an excellent coach who has already won the Champions League and, for sure, they are the favourites. We have to start the game well and try our best to play our own game, always hoping for a good result.”
Former Chelsea defender Nuno Morais faces his old team-mates tonight having spent a low-key stint at Stamford Bridge.
Morais hardly got a look-in at Chelsea under Jose Mourinho and although the Blues won the FA Cup, Carling Cup and Premier League twice during his time at the club, he never won a medal.
“It’ll be a different experience for me playing against my former club, but we must treat it as just another game as much as we can,” said Morais.
“It’ll be one more game. I will do my best for the team. I want to prove something to them, of course. If we can show our quality in the Champions League, maybe it will open doors for some of our players.”
“I enjoyed my time there but I don’t have any medals from those days,” he said.
Chelsea team from: Cech, Hilario, Turnbull, Ivanovic, A Cole, Carvalho, Terry, Belletti, Hutchinson, Bruma, Essien, Lampard, J Cole, Malouda, Zhirkov, Deco, Kalou, Sturridge, Anelka, Borini.
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