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English Premiership

Ancelotti happy to win ugly

LONDON, September 16 – Carlo Ancelotti insists he is happy for Chelsea to win ugly as the Blues manager bids to lead his side to Champions League glory.CARLO_ANCELOTTIAncelotti’s team spluttered to an unconvincing 1-0 victory over Porto on their return to European action at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday.

Nicolas Anelka’s superb finish early in the second-half was enough to clinch the points, but the Portuguese champions left west London rueing their failure to turn waves of pressure in the closing stages into an equaliser.

With Didier Drogba serving the first of his three-game ban, Chelsea lacked the killer instinct and physical presence to dominate a slick-passing Porto outfit.

Most disturbing was the way Chelsea gave away possession with alarming regularity, but Ancelotti knows, with Drogba and Jose Bosingwa suspended, that victories are more important than eye-catching performances.

Blues owner Roman Abramovich, who has long yearned for a team of ultra-entertaining flair players, may disagree but for former AC Milan boss Ancelotti – a two-time Champions League winner – the result is all that matters.

"It is impossible to play well in all the games. Sometimes we can win with other characteristics," Ancelotti said.

"It is good for us to win and also to have difficulties because we can learn from it.

"We can’t always play the best, we have to win without playing well. This is another important thing for a team."

With Drogba still banned for two more matches, Ancelotti will be relying on Anelka to produce more of the magic that settled Tuesday’s game.

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When Salomon Kalou poked a pass through to Anelka, the France striker’s first shot was saved by Helton. But Anelka reacted swiftly to seize possession again and curl a superb effort past the Porto keeper from an acute angle.

Ancelotti was adamant his side had coped well without Drogba and he expects Anelka to continue to shoulder the burden in his absence.

"Anelka is a great player with Drogba and without Drogba. He can play alone and in the centre of attack. I am very happy for him because he is doing very well," Ancelotti said.

"I don’t think we missed Drogba. The attacking play was good in the first half but we just had a problem in the second half to maintain control of the play."

Although Ancelotti’s men have yet to hit peak form, they have reeled off six consecutive victories in all competitions.

Ancelotti, who saw captain John Terry briefly knocked out by an elbow from Bruno Alves in the first half, believes the positive effect of such a good start on Chelsea’s morale will stand them in good stead for the rest of the competition.

"Chelsea have a good chance to win this group but we have another five matches," he said.

"It is important to win and maintain a good confidence in our play and a good atmosphere in the dressing room. But I know very well it is impossible to win all the games. It will happen that we don’t win one day."

Porto, who finished with 10 men after Fernando earned a second booking in stoppage time for lunging at Ashley Cole, could count themselves unfortunate not to have earned a draw.

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Fredy Guarain looped a header just over, while Raul Meireles should have done better than nod tamely at Petr Cech.

Guarin should have scored late on but shot straight at Cech after Porto cut through the home defence.

Cech preserved Chelsea’s lead in the final moments as he clawed away an awkward shot from Silvestre Verela.

"I want to anaylse this game in a positive way," Porto boss Jesualdo Ferreira said. "This is the first game, there are another five games and we are going to try to win every game. I have to think we are still in a good position.

"The door is still open for us to improve and I think we can do that."

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