Football

'Clear the air' talks key for Chelsea

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Chelsea coach Carlo Ancelotti has conceded that a 'clear-the-air' meeting with the players was an important moment in a season that was threatening to implode.

Chelsea's season looked over during a week when they were dumped out of the Champions League by Inter Milan and then drew 1-1 with Blackburn in the Barclays Premier League last month.

However, Chelsea rallied following an "open and honest" team meeting with management after the draw with Rovers and have been unbeaten ever since.

"After that meeting we spoke together and tried to clear the air after the defeats to Inter and Manchester City," said Ancelotti.

"After that, the players were more focused on our aims. We were able to change our aims from the Champions League to the Premier League and the FA Cup."

He added: "It was necessary to speak with the players. We are involved in the same aim, to put Chelsea in first position.

"It was a very important moment. When you have a difficulty, you have to move on quickly. The right way is to involve the players to give a responsibility on me, but also on the players.

"They have to take a responsibility when the moment is not so good. After that, the players worked with more concentration and with more determination, and together."

Since the meeting, Chelsea have put five past Portsmouth, scored seven against Aston Villa, beat Manchester United at Old Trafford and secured their third FA Cup final appearance in four years with a 3-0 victory over Villa at Wembley.

They are now one point ahead of United at the top of the Barclays Premier League and face Bolton on Tuesday night when victory will put them four points clear of the Red Devils.

"Every game we need to do our best because every game will be difficult," added the Italian. "Bolton will not be an easy game because they didn't play on Saturday.

"They will come to Stamford Bridge fresh. They can do a game with high tempo so we have to pay attention. Bolton is one of the most important games of our season. Now is not the moment to think 'If we win the double' or not. The most important thing is to stay focused game by game."

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Topics:
Football
Chelsea
Premier League

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