LONDON, July 14 – Chelsea's Michael Ballack believes English champions Manchester United, weakened by the inter-season departure of goal-scoring stars, will cede the title to the Blues next season, according to a newspaper interview published Monday.The arrival of new manager Carlo Ancelotti at Stamford Bridge has prompted hopes by fans Chelsea can win their first domestic championship since 2006.
The German playmaker believes the club head into the campaign equipped to give them a head start over United, who have lost both Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez this summer.
"It is our target every year to win the league and we are confident about winning the title," said Ballack, quoted in the London Evening Standard following his appearance at a Chelsea charity event, Right to Play.
"I think we had a good season last year, but United have played at a really high level the last few years.
"They made it really difficult for us to win the League in 2007 and 2008, but we were really close behind and last season we also finished behind Liverpool, who had a strong season.
"There are a few moments which decide every championship but we are confident it will be different next time. We have a very experienced squad."
Chelsea are expected to further strengthen their squad before the traditional curtain-raiser of the FA Community Shield against United at Wembley on August 9.
The Blues head out to the United States on a four-match tour later this week, by which time they hope the future of skipper John Terry, currently subject of interest from cash-rich Manchester City, will be resolved.