Carlo Ancelotti, the Chelsea manager, was simply relieved last night to have reached the last eight of the Champions League after the goalless draw with FC Copenhagen, on the anniversary of last year's elimination to Internazionale.
That defeat to Jose Mourinho's side was a hammer blow to Chelsea, who had made a habit of reaching the semi-finals in previous seasons. Last night, Chelsea lacked a cutting edge against their Danish visitors, but Ancelotti was satisfied and predicted his side were strong enough to go on and win it.
"Last year we were crying here. Now we're happy. We have to go and have a fantastic party," Ancelotti said. "Obviously we have to improve. We had so many chances to score, but I see the team fresh and it's a good moment for us. We can improve and we have a squad that's strong enough to win the Champions League. All the players are fit. If we play at 100 per cent we have a possibility to get to the final stages. I was happy with the performance of the team. We obviously need to be more precise in front of goal, but these are little details."
Ancelotti rotated the side ahead of Sunday's vital Premier League contest with Manchester City, leaving Fernando Torres on the bench. The Chelsea manager said: "The only reason is that we will have these players – Essien, Malouda and Torres – fresh for City."
The manager was happy with Torres' contribution but admitted the desire to see the Spaniard score his first goal changed the way both the striker and his team-mates played. "I think he played well," Ancelotti said. "He was excited, I think. He wanted to score and had some opportunities. I think at the end we lost a bit of precision because we wanted him to score. It was not clear football."