Ancelotti defends Essien challenge

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Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti insists he will watch Michael Essien's two-footed lunge on Clint Dempsey before deciding whether to appeal against the midfielder's straight red card.

Chelsea increased their lead at the top of the Barclays Premier League to four points after Essien's 30th-minute header gave the Blues a 1-0 home victory over Fulham. But Essien's injury-time dismissal took the shine off his performance and Chelsea's victory.

However, Ancelotti was adamant he did not think Essien's tackle was dangerous, and said: "I don't like to judge the decision. But I can say that maybe it was not a red card because Essien made a strong tackle, but on the ball."

He added: "There was not a risk on the opponent. I think he went for the ball, the last ball of the game, an important ball. I don't think he did a silly foul. He tried to do a tackle, he won the tackle. And I'm not sure it was a sending-off.

"I'd like to see it again but directly, on the pitch, I didn't think it was a dangerous tackle. I hope we won't lose him for three games. That would be a problem if we lose him for three games. We have to wait, I think. I want to watch the replay before doing anything."

But Ancelotti was pleased with the performance of his side, who bounced back from their 2-0 defeat a Liverpool on Sunday.

"It was a good performance," said Ancelotti. "We started well from the beginning with a high tempo during the game.

"The first half was very good and we had good control in the second half. We had a little problem at the end, but this is normal.

"When you are just 1-0 up it's more difficult to control the game. We played well continuously over the course of the game, so it was a good performance.

"The Manchester result was good for us, though, to be four points clear. That's a good gap. Nothing is decided, but that's a good gap. We'd like to stay there in that position."

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Premier League
Michael Essien
Clint Dempsey

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