Football

Chelsea handed major boost

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Carlo Ancelotti and Frank Lampard have handed Chelsea a much-needed double boost ahead of Sunday's crunch clash with Manchester United.

Ancelotti declared on Thursday that he had no intention of quitting Stamford Bridge following fevered speculation over his future. The under-pressure 51-year-old, who has been linked with a return to Italy with Roma, insisted he would honour his current contract and hinted he might stay even longer.

"I'll stay in London at least until 2012," he told Corriere dello Sport.

Ancelotti's statement of intent came on the same day Lampard completed a practice match at Chelsea's Cobham training ground, thereby proving his fitness for Sunday's United showdown.

The England midfielder scored in what was a 60-minute game, which pitted two sides from the first-team squad against one another.

The 32-year-old made a surprise comeback after three-and-a-half months on the sidelines at Tottenham, playing the final 12 minutes at White Hart Lane.

Ancelotti revealed after the game that Lampard would start against league leaders United this weekend providing he suffered no reaction on Thursday. His return comes just at the right time for the faltering champions, who are in the middle of their worst league run for more than a decade.

Their form has dipped alarmingly since assistant manager Ray Wilkins was sacked last month and they have not won for five matches, dropping from first to fourth. They missed a stoppage-time penalty to beat Tottenham on Sunday but Ancelotti feels their performance bodes well for the visit of United.

"In that game I realised that we are alive and we will start winning soon," he said.

Ancelotti also rubbished suggestions of a dressing-room rift at Stamford Bridge, saying: "There aren't problems in the dressing room, the relationships are good. Everything depends on the results that haven't arrived because of too many misfortunes."

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Topics:
Football
Chelsea
Premier League

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