Ballack calm after a rough week

ALL things considered, Michael Ballack has had better weeks.

The Chelsea midfielder is refusing to become too downhearted after playing in both of his club’s first consecutive defeats since Carlo Ancelotti took over in the summer and feels there is no need for any panic at Stamford Bridge.

He missed a penalty in the shoot-out loss to Blackburn Rovers in the Carling Cup quarter-final last Wednesday and was also a long way from his best during the 2-1 defeat at the Eastlands on Saturday.

Yet Ballack, who has a reputation for taking a relaxed approach to the slings and arrows of footballing fortune, is not fretting yet and he denied Chelsea’s third away loss of the season amounted to evidence that they are fallible on the road.

“We have to accept it and just look forward to the next game,” he said. “You have to accept it if you lose a game. We’re still on top of the table.

“We bounced back after defeats to Wigan and Aston Villa and we must do it again. We could have got a draw if we had scored the penalty and that would have been a good away result. We have played a lot of good games away as well.

“If you win every game at home and lose a few away it seems like we are not as strong as we are at home and with every team it is the same. At home you are stronger than you are away, that is normal.”

Frank Lampard’s late penalty miss allowed City to end a run of seven consecutive Premier League draws and Ballack now expects them to develop into a serious threat to the established big four.

“It looks like they are ready to fight for the title,” he added. “I don’t know what their target is but they showed today that they have a good team and with a bit of luck they can beat teams like us.

“They have spent a lot of money, and they have a lot of good players so it is not a surprise.”


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