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English Premiership

Ancelotti remains grounded

LONDON, September 20 – Carlo Ancelotti admits the true test of his Chelsea side lies ahead after the Blues defeated Blackpool 4-0 to extend their perfect start to the season.Two goals from Florent Malouda and strikes from Salomon Kalou and Didier Drogba handed Chelsea a fifth successive Premier League victory four days after they had opened their Champions League campaign with a 4-1 win over MSK Zilina.

So far the season could hardly have gone any better for Chelsea,, although the manager concedes the fixture list — Chelsea have so far faced only teams expected to feature in the bottom half of the table — has meant they have not yet been fully stretched.

But with Chelsea set to visit Manchester City next weekend, Ancelotti is hoping the early momentum built up by his side will allow them to continue their winning streak.

"It could be we have had an easy start," the Italian said. "Every game could be easy after and if you’ve not played well, you’ve had a difficult game. We didn’t play against the top teams but we are playing very well and that is the most important thing.

"Now we have to maintain the same level of play against the top teams and I think we are capable of doing this.

"I thought for us it was important to show confidence in our play. We know the next game will be difficult and if we can show the same level of football against a team like Manchester City it will be an important test."

Before that fixture Chelsea face Newcastle United at home in a Carling Cup tie when Ancelotti will make changes and rest his senior players.

That will give skipper John Terry more time to recover from a rib injury while midfielder Frank Lampard is targeting a return at Eastlands after a hernia operation.

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"Frank should be 100 percent for the Manchester City game and John Terry should be fully fit in two or three days," he added.

Chelsea raced into a four-goal lead before half time against Blackpool but Ancelotti insisted he was not angry at the way his side eased off after the break.

"Blackpool had a good response after the first half and they made some chances to score," he said. "Also we didn’t play as well as we did in the first half because at 4-0 up it wasn’t easy to stay in focus and maintain concentration.

"We had more opportunities to score but it wasn’t fantastic play like the first half. It was a pleasure to watch my team play the way they did in the first half. I was very happy.

"I’m not angry with them. The same thing happened in the game against Zilina. There are a lot of games in this period and the players are looking to the next game.

"Maybe they lose a bit of concentration in the game."

Blackpool manager Ian Holloway admitted his side took time to get to grips with Chelsea but insisted his main target this season lies in taking points off teams ranked lower in the table.

"There is a league within a league," he said. "We have lost to Arsenal and Chelsea but my job is to try and get us a bit closer to these teams and at the moment we are light years away from them.

"The rich are getting richer, the best are getting better and the rest are trying to hold onto their coattails. But the second half we drew with Chelsea and I would have taken that at half time.

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"We came here with seven points and we knew this was always going to happen. Their players are light years ahead.

"We have to find three teams worse than us. I want this every week and if I take a battering we won’t get it. But we’ll keep trying to beat teams nearer to us."

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