Carlo Ancelotti refused to accept Chelsea have seized the initiative in the title race after the champions crushed West Ham 3-1 to maintain their perfect start to the season.
Ancelotti’s side sit top of the Premier League after winning their opening four matches and they are already two points clear of second placed Arsenal and four ahead of perennial rivals Manchester United.
The Blues could be in an even stronger position before September is over as their next two league fixtures are at home to promoted duo Blackpool and Newcastle.
Chelsea have been in formidable form so far, scoring 17 goals and conceding just one, but Ancelotti has no intention of letting his stars rest on their laurels.
“It means nothing,” he said. “We’ve started better than Manchester United, but it will be a long race.
“I said last year that the race is only decided at the end of the season. I will say the same this year.
“There are moments during the season where you are not lucky. United conceded in the last seconds against Fulham, and two goals in the last few minutes against Everton.
“Little details have cost them four points, or they would be in our position. It can happen to us the same.”
Ancelotti has an injury concern over skipper John Terry, who was taken off with eight minutes remaining.
Terry will need a fitness test ahead of the Champions League clash against MSK Zilina on Wednesday, although Frank Lampard could return after hernia surgery.
Ancelotti said: “John Terry took a knock on his ribs. We?ll have a look the next day, and I hope he will be fit for Wednesday.
“The next day it will be more clear. I don’t think it?s broken. He took a knock in the first half and played again for 60 minutes. But the end of the game, he came off.”
Ghana midfielder Michael Essien scored twice for Chelsea, both of them headers, for his first goals since returning from a serious knee injury last season and Salomon Kalou bagged the other for Ancelotti’s men.
“Michael’s fit now,” Ancelotti said. “We have to pay attention because he’s playing well, all the games at the start of the season.
“He scored and that’s fantastic. He’s a fantastic jumper and I hope he maintains this position for as long as possible.
“We missed him last season because he’s one of the top midfielders in the world. He came back and we’re happy he can maintain this level of play.”
Meanwhile, West Ham manager Avram Grant refused to blame Robert Green after the goalkeeper’s latest blunder contributed to Chelsea’s win.
There were echoes of Green’s error for England during the World Cup when Clint Dempsey’s weak shot for the United States squirmed through his grasp.
On this occasion, Didier Drogba’s free-kick was fumbled by Green and Matthew Upson’s clearance went in off Kalou.
But Grant said: “Every player has good days and bad days. We’re winning as a team and losing as a team. I don’t like to speak about individual players.”
Former Chelsea boss Grant felt his side played well despite the scoreline. Scott Parker pulled a goal back for them late on.
“If you saw the level we played, it’s not a team for relegation,” he said.
“We played like a team in the middle of the table. The team will improve and improve as they play together as a team.
“It’s not easy when you concede the first goal. They came out very well and found the second goal.
“It’s amazing because Chelsea didn’t create any chances in that first half.”
- Soccer News Like
- Be the first of your friends!