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English Premiership

Ancelotti relishing test

LONDON, April 26 – Carlo Ancelotti believes Chelsea's 7-0 demolition of Stoke on Sunday proves they can cope with the pressure of staying ahead of Manchester United in the title race.Ancelotti’s side returned to the top of the Premier League thanks to an imperious display at Stamford Bridge just 24 hours after United claimed pole position with a win over Tottenham.

United boss Sir Alex Ferguson tried to pile pressure on the Blues after his team’s victory by claiming the title was Chelsea’s to lose, but Salomon Kalou’s hat-trick, a Frank Lampard double and goals from Daniel Sturridge and Florent Malouda delivered the perfect response to the champions.

Ancelotti said: "I am happy because we played very well. It was an important game as we had to come back to the top of the table above Man Utd.

"We played very well and showed good physical condition. There was a little bit of pressure on us before the game but from the beginning the team was in form. We gave a fantastic performance.

"The most important thing is the destiny of the title is in my hands. I don’t feel any pressure now. I am calm and quiet because the title is in our hands."

Chelsea’s ruthless rout left them one point ahead of United with just two games to go and also siginificantly improved the Blues’ goal difference.

Ancelotti’s team now have a goal difference of 61 – eight better than United’s, although the Chelsea manager insisted the result was more important for his players’ morale than anything else.

"We don’t need to send a message to other teams. This is a good message for us because after the defeat against Tottenham last week we needed a good reaction," Ancelotti said.

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"It is a good thing to have scored seven but I don’t think it will be important to decide who wins the title.

"I think one team will arrive in first place without goal difference, but we have scored a lot of goals this season with a lot of attacking play.

"This is our philosophy. We want to attack and to use the quality of my players. With this ability you have to score.

"But I would have preferred to keep two or three goals for next week. I forgot to tell my players this!"

Stoke boss Tony Pulis revealed that Danish goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen dislocated an elbow when Kalou collided with him while scoring his second goal.

Pulis hopes Sorensen will not need an operation as it would likely rule the veteran out of the World Cup in South Africa.

"He has definitely dislocated his elbow," Pulis said. "We are hoping they can just pop it back in without him needing an operation. If he needs an operation he will be struggling for the World Cup.

"But I won’t use that as an excuse. We have just got murdered. We were lucky to get nil. We were poor and we have to take it on the chin.

"The players were having a day off on Monday but they are all in now and we will have a chat about it."

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