Winning in style key to Carlo success

LONDON - Carlo Ancelotti spoke this week of his admiration for some of the great attacking teams from football's past and was delighted with the way his Chelsea side made their own mark on the game this season.

They may have a way to go to be mentioned in the same breath as his stand-outs - Brazil's 1970 World Cup winners, Johan Cruyff's Dutch masters, the AC Milan team he helped to glorious success in the late 1980s and early 90s - but there is no question this is a Chelsea team people want to watch.

The statistics tell their own story.

Sunday's 8-0 demolition of 10-man Wigan Athletic to secure the Premier League title was the club's biggest top-flight win - surpassing the record set only last month when they beat Stoke City 7-0.

They scored seven on two other occasions and notched up 103 league goals in the season, making them the first to pass 100 since Tottenham Hotspur in 1963 - and from four fewer games.

Chelsea fans were delighted when Jose Mourinho ended their 50-year wait for the title in 2005 but while the Portuguese coach would close down a game when 2-0 or even 1-0 up, Ancelotti has encouraged his players to pile on the pressure.

"The most important thing is to win but I think we've found the right way to win playing good football, showing good fair play and have given joy to the fans who saw our team," he told reporters on Sunday in the wake of another goal-rush.

"This is my style and I never had a problem with my players during the season. They all agree with my decisions and I want to keep this style in the future."

Never the most fluent of communicators in English, Ancelotti was loosened up by a glass of wine or two, having spent time celebrating his first-season success with the players and owner Roman Abramovich.

The Russian, who forced out Mourinho and has been through a slew of coaches since in pursuit of the holy grail of success with panache, looked happy enough as Didier Drogba's hat-trick spurred his club to new levels of entertainment.

"I want to thank Roman and everyone who supported me at the club during the season and above all I want to thank the players," Ancelotti said.

"I've found a fantastic team here. They've worked very hard every day and maintained a good atmosphere. We won the title because we played and worked as a team."

Ancelotti has brought terrific organisation and instilled real confidence in a Chelsea team who had had to watch Manchester United take the title in the previous three seasons.

Without major changes in personnel he tweaked the tactics and helped improve players such as Florent Malouda and Salomon Kalou from the bit-part operators they were under previous regimes.

Though there were some dips during the season his side always bounced back well and, with home and away victories over United, Arsenal and Liverpool, nobody can argue that they are not worthy champions.

"It was difficult because we had fantastic opponents and I always said it would come down to the last game," he said.

"But our victory at home (against United) and above all in Manchester was the key for this title. That improved our confidence and sent them a little bit down."

Ancelotti now has the chance to add Chelsea to the select group of clubs who have completed the Double and they will start hot favourites in next Saturday's FA Cup final against Portsmouth.

Achieving that would mark a memorable first season for the 50-year-old, who has found his English adventure an enjoyable one.

"The difference here is the atmosphere you can see and feel in the stadiums," he said. "The culture of the people...this is the best football in the world.

"This club will have a future because the players are not so old, we have a very good squad for the next years and this team doesn't need to change a lot of things,

"After this first year I hope to stay here a lot of time."

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