Chelsea look to Terry for inspiration

COBHAM - Chelsea need talisman John Terry back for what could be a title-deciding clash at Liverpool on Sunday, coach Carlo Ancelotti said.

Despite the Premier League leaders thrashing Stoke City 7-0 last weekend while their captain was suspended for being sent off in his side's 2-1 defeat at Tottenham, the Italian made clear that Terry would slot straight back in.

With two games remaining, and Chelsea just a point ahead of Manchester United, Ancelotti shrugged off the pressure and said he had no qualms about changing a winning team against a Liverpool side chasing fourth place and the final Champions League qualifying slot.

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"If we win two games, we will be champions," he said matter-of-factly on Friday.

"John Terry will play because we need to have his character and personality in this game.

"All the players are fit and are able to play. It is difficult to change a team that played very well against Stoke but Terry needs to play."

Liverpool went out of the Europa League to Atletico Madrid after extra time in their semi-final second leg at Anfield on Thursday night but Ancelotti batted aside any suggestion that they might be demoralised or tired.

"We have to play against a strong team. We have to play against fantastic players and in a difficult atmosphere," he added.

"I don't know if it's better for us to play against the Liverpool that lost a chance of the Europa League final.


"They played two hours yesterday, maybe they will be a little bit tired. But I know very well that at Anfield I never see Liverpool tired. They play strong 90 minutes every game and I think they will do the same on Sunday," said the coach.

While Chelsea have a tough weekend ahead, their sole rivals travel to Sunderland who are managed by United's former captain Steve Bruce.

Ancelotti, a title-winning coach with AC Milan in Italy, ruled out any suggestion of Sunderland in any way helping United.

"I don't think about this," he declared. "I think Sunderland will do the best to beat Manchester United and the same Liverpool for us. Every team has respect of this Premier League and every team has to do the best until the end of the matches."

Chelsea stumbled badly at White Hart Lane, allowing United back into the title race, but Ancelotti felt able to laugh at his own expense a week later.

Asked how he would prepare his players for the Liverpool game, he replied with a smile: "I am going to say the opposite to what I said against Tottenham.

"I think it is easy to give my players motivation for this kind of game," he added.

"It's 180 minutes to the end of the season and I think that every minute will stay in focus...and we can be champions.

"I am not worried now," he added. "I am happy. We had a good week here in Cobham without problems. I hope to be happy at the end of this season. I may be worried, but now I have a good feeling."