LONDON, June 2 – Chelsea captain John Terry admits Carlo Ancelotti's first job at Stamford Bridge is to ensure the Blues are serious challengers for the Premier League title.Ancelotti signed a three-year contract worth 6.5 million pounds a year on Monday to succeed Guus Hiddink as manager of the west London club.
The Italian was targeted by Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich because of his impressive pedigree in the Champions League. Ancelotti reached the final three times with AC Milan, winning twice, and also won the competition twice as a Milan player.
But England defender Terry is more concerned with Chelsea’s league form after his side finished outside the top two for the first time since Abramovich bought the club in 2003.
After Guus Hiddink left Chelsea with an FA Cup triumph to celebrate on Saturday, Ancelotti will take over a squad confident they can end Manchester United’s three-year reign as champions.
Terry, who believes Chelsea should settle for nothing less than a sustained run at the title, hopes Ancelotti is the man to bring the title back to the Bridge.
In an open letter to Chelsea fans, Terry wrote: "He (Hiddink) came at a difficult time when things looked like they were slipping away from us, so to lead us to an FA Cup final and within a whisker of the Champions League final is a great achievement.
"That said, third place in the league isn’t good enough for Chelsea anymore. It’s our worst finish since Mr Abramovich bought the club and we all know we need to do better.
"It is fantastic to win the FA Cup but we want more and that’s the way it needs to be for us these days.
"We will all enjoy the time we have off now and come back for pre-season as determined as ever and of course looking forward to achieving great things with the new manager Carlo Ancelotti."
With spells at Milan and Juventus on his CV, Ancelotti has experience of the pressure to deliver success at the highest level.
But, although he survived in the San Siro for eight years, Ancelotti only won the Serie A title once with Milan.
He will also take over an ageing squad that Hiddink claimed needed an infusion of fresh blood to keep pace with United.
Inevitably Ancelotti has already been linked with a host of big-money transfers.
Valencia’s David Villa, Bayern Munich’s Franck Ribery and Milan’s Andrea Pirlo could all feature on his wanted list as Abramovich loosens the purse strings for the first time in two years.
But the 49-year-old wants to focus on building the kind of team-spirit that Hiddink fostered during his four months in charge.
"I like to be close to the players. I like to be close to the company. I like to speak with the people," he said.
"I believe in team work: this is the most important thing, to create a group that work together to build a dream.
"The players and the company need to have strong organisation, strong discipline and the right motivation. I hope to do this together because this is the right way to arrive at success."
Ancelotti will be managing outside Italy for the first time. But the former Italy midfielder insists he will have no problem adapting to life in the Premier League because he is already a big fan of the English game.
"I see the matches always on television. I like the Premier League because there are great teams who play good football. It is very speedy. I like English football," he said.
"In Italy, now and before, the matches are more tactical, the team thinks to defend well and only after to attack.
"I watch Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United and I know English football very well. Chelsea have a great team, great players and a strong team. I’d like to stay here.