Carlo Ancelotti has admitted that Chelsea's clash with Manchester City on Sunday would prove decisive in their Barclays Premier League season.
Victory would see Ancelotti's men leapfrog City into third place and would also maintain their outside hopes of retaining the championship but defeat would surely kill off their title chances and would also put qualification for next season's Champions League back in serious doubt.
Ancelotti said: "It's important we win to clarify our position in the table. At the moment, our position is not so clear. After this game, it'll be clear what we're going to do in the Premier League."
The same could be said for City, who arguably must also win on Sunday to keep their dwindling title hopes alive.
And they have every reason to think they can, having proven to be Chelsea's bogey team since Ancelotti took charge, winning their last three games against the Londoners.
"I don't remember this," Ancelotti joked. "I think that all three games we lost on counter-attacks. City will try to do the same now.
"They are very dangerous on the counter-attack, so we have to avoid this and maintain good balance on the pitch."
City boss Roberto Mancini became his fellow Italian's nemesis towards the end of the pair's time in charge of AC Milan and Inter Milan, respectively, and has now won five of the last six head-to-head clashes between them.
"He's a very intelligent coach who prepares a tactical game very well," Ancelotti said.
"That's the reason I have difficulty against him. I hope to change that on Sunday."
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