Carlo Ancelotti claimed his strike force was “the best in Europe” after Nicolas Anelka’s brace and an encouraging performance from Fernando Torres edged Chelsea within reach of a place in the last eight of the Champions League.
The Italian stressed he hoped to remain at Chelsea despite his side’s toils after seeing a comfortable win in Copenhagen sparked by Anelka’s goals, taking his tally to seven in European competition this season. Torres was denied his first rewards in a Chelsea shirt, though Ancelotti was still impressed with the £50m forward’s contribution, having started with Didier Drogba on the bench.
“I think we have the best strikers in Europe,” said the Chelsea manager. “They are fantastic players, and I have an opportunity to choose the right players for each game. Didier had played for 120 minutes on Saturday and we want to maintain their fitness, but rotation could do them good with the Premier League and the Champions League to come. They are accepting my decisions without problems, and this is important. To have them available at the moment is important at this time of year.
“Torres’s performance was very good. Sure, there’s a little bit of disappointment because he could have scored, but it doesn’t matter. His movement with Anelka was so good – he’s doing better, game by game, and it doesn’t matter if he didn’t score. He created opportunities with his movement, and he will score in his next game.”
That will be against Manchester United at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday, when Chelsea will have an opportunity to leapfrog Tottenham Hotspur into the top four following their rivals’ loss at Blackpool on Tuesday night. They will return to domestic matters heartened by this victory, with Ancelotti pointing out that this result was more impressive than that mustered by his Milan side at the same stage back in 2007 – they drew 0-0 at Celtic – before going on to claim the trophy in Athens.
Ancelotti was asked about his future given Chelsea’s run. “I hope to remain at Chelsea, where I feel very well,” he said. “But we have to keep playing like this now. We played with intelligence, showed good football and efficiency, and created opportunities. This was just one game, but we have to put in the same level of performance against United. That game will be a fantastic opportunity for us.”