LONDON: Carlo Ancelotti, Chelsea’s manager, heads into the final game of the Premier League campaign insisting his side deserve to land the title and that it would be a “tragedy” if they were to fall at the last hurdle.
Last weekend’s 2-0 victory over Liverpool at Anfield has put Ancelotti’s team in pole position ahead of today’s final game of the season and a home victory over Wigan will mean the championship is theirs. Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United will be waiting expectantly for the London club to slip up but, having seen his side head the table for almost all of the campaign, Ancelotti believes anything other than a Chelsea triumph would be cruel.
“We did a fantastic job but we’ve still got one game to go,” said Ancelotti, whose side are one point ahead of United. “We have to do our best, have the same behaviour in the last game. Wigan’s manager Roberto Martinez, on the other hand, insists his side are not heading to Stamford Bridge simply to play a supporting role in Chelsea’s march towards the title. “It is more than a football game for us,” said upset-hopeful Martinez.
“We know the whole football world is watching and for the youngsters they could learn more in 90 minutes than they could for two or three years.” Meanwhile, Ferguson has told his stars they must be ready to take advantage if Wigan shock leaders Chelsea on a dramatic final day of the season. Ferguson’s team host Stoke at Old Trafford with only a United victory, coupled with a draw or win for the Latics at Chelsea, enough for United to retain the title.
But United are no strangers to last-day drama, having been in the situation four times during Ferguson’s reign, emerging successfully on three of those occasions. “I’ve the experience of these things we’ve been here before,” said Ferguson. Ultimately, United appear doomed to fall one point short of Carlo Ancelotti’s side, leaving Ferguson to rue missed opportunities to pull clear of the Blues.
Published in the Express Tribune, May 09/05/2010