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English Premiership

Ancelotti wants top spot

LONDON, October 22- Carlo Ancelotti warned his Chelsea stars that only first place will do after Salomon Kalou and Frank Lampard inspired a 4-0 Champions League rout of Atletico Madrid.
SALOMON_KALOU_2_Ancelotti’s side moved within touching distance of a place in the last 16 thanks to their clinical display against the woeful Spaniards at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.

But, more importantly for Ancelotti, the Blues are top of Group D at the halfway stage and he wants them to stay there as it guarantees a home second leg against one of the group runners-up in the first knockout round.

"We are in control of the group now. Our aim is to arrive in first place because it is important for the rest of the Champions League," Ancelotti said.

"That is not certain yet and we need more points. It has not been easy without Didier Drogba but all the players have done well in this competition."

Chelsea travel to Atletico and then Porto in their next two matches before finishing at home to Apoel Nicosia and two wins from those three games would guarantee top spot.

Ancelotti will have Drogba back as the Ivory Coast striker has now served his three-match European suspension.

But even without the powerful targetman, Chelsea were far too strong for Atletico.

Kalou made amends for a bad miss when he opened the scoring with a cool finish from Ashley Cole’s cross in the 41st minute.

He added a second soon after half-time with a header from a corner by Lampard, who notched the third himself with a fine low strike for his first goal from open play this season.

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Luis Perea’s headed own goal in stoppage time completed a miserable experience for struggling Atletico.

Although Kalou has generally been consigned to the bench when Drogba and Anelka are fit, Ancelotti believes the erratic forward can play an important role in Chelsea’s push for honours.

"Kalou is an important player for us, especially when (Didier) Drogba is out," he said.

"He started the game badly and made a big mistake but that gave him a good motivation to play well. For him it is very important to score. He played a good match."

Ancelotti was also full of praise for Lampard, who ended a 10-game drought to score his 133rd Chelsea goal – taking him past Jimmy Greaves into fifth place in the club’s all-time scorers’ list.

"I am happy for him for sure. Lampard is not just important for goals, he is important because he is working for 90 minutes for the team," Ancelotti added.

"He is a generous, unselfish player. If he scores it is better, but I want to speak about Lampard for his work."

Ancelotti could also take heart from Chelsea’s improved defending at set-pieces after they conceded two goals from corners in Saturday’s defeat at Aston Villa.

The Blues are yet to concede a goal in Europe this season and Ancelotti said: "I think we defended better on the set-plays and we also scored two goals from them.

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"It means we have good jumpers and possibilities to score from set-pieces. For us this is important."

While Ancelotti can look forward to a sustained challenge in Europe, Atletico coach Abel Resino could be facing the sack after his side’s latest humiliation.

Atletico have just one point from three games and are also struggling in La Liga, but Resino has no intention of quitting.

"It’s not for me to say who is to blame. My job is to find solutions," he said.

"The thing to do is keep calm, not panic and work hard to prepare for the next game.

"I am a fighter. I never give up. I am not going to throw the towel in. With one result the confidence will begin to change. There have not been many games when we haven’t created chances."

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