Italian knows a win can complete a remarkable turnaround and send his team to the top, but acknowledges that the hosts have the momentum and will be able to recall key players
Ahead of the showdown with Manchester United, Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti has described the clash with the league rivals at Old Trafford on Sunday as a ‘final’ for the Blues.
The west London outfit can leapfrog Sir Alex Ferguson’s team with a win thanks to its superior goal difference, a result which would take the title race down to the last two games.
The Italian’s side beat the Red Devils last season with five games to go, which enabled them to take the title, but Ancelotti knows that this time round things will not be as comfortable.
Ancelotti told the press: "Obviously they are favosrites for the title because they have three points more. If we win, nothing is decided but if they win they win the title. For this reason they have the advantage.
"We are honest enough to say United has the advantage, but we have closed the gap quickly and we want to do our best to win on Sunday.
"But, it will be important to reach the top of the table, if we win we can reach the top of the table for a long time. It would be a very good step for us. Last year we needed to win, we won. We’ll see and I hope it will be the same."
The 51-year old manager claims that the game this weekend will act as Chelsea’s own final and the outcome will be determined by his players' efforts.
"It is not the shape of the team that will decide this game," he said. "This game will be decided through the courage and personality of the players.
"They don’t need to be afraid of this game, they have to play with character.
"For us it is like a final. We wanted to play the final of the Champions League but we have to be happy to play this kind of final.
"We have to prepare like a final and stay as relaxed as possible even when there is a lot of pressure."
There has been a resurgence at Stamford Bridge ever since the league win for the Blues over United in March when Ancelotti’s team was forced to come back from a goal down to win 2-1 on home turf.
"Nobody thought we were able to fight for the title, we just spoke about qualifying for the Champions League because 15 points behind was too much but we were able to close the gap," Ancelotti said.
"We did really well to come back. We are happy and excited about this. This team is still alive.
"The turning point was when Man United lost against Arsenal last Sunday. If we were six points behind it was not so interesting to play Man United."
The former AC Milan boss also recognized the threat his Chelsea side face on Sunday, after United rested many key names in the Champions League semifinal win over Schalke and knows his team will face fresh faces.
"I understand that it is a different moment for Man United,” he continued. "Last year, Man United lost to Bayern Munich, losing [Wayne] Rooney to injury, now their momentum is better.
"They reached the final and for this I want to congratulate Manchester United, because it is a fantastic final, but their momentum is different. We will have to fight against a team in good condition, fit, against a very good team."Follow Goal.com on to get the latest soccer news directly. Check out Goal.com's page; be part of the best soccer fan community in the world!