Carlo Ancelotti: 'Chelsea are on par with Manchester United'

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Carlo Ancelotti insists Chelsea are on the same level as Manchester United despite Harry Redknapp's dig at the Blues ahead of Sunday's clash with Tottenham at Stamford Bridge.

Spurs boss Redknapp claims Chelsea have a long way to go before the club are big enough to be classed in the "same bracket as Manchester United".

Chelsea's chief-executive Peter Kenyon quit the club this week - five years after he vowed to "turn the world blue" by 2010, and four years after he pledged to make the Blues "the world's number one club" by 2014.

But since Roman Abramovich took control of the club in 2003, Chelsea have struggled to win the Champions League - despite reaching five semi-finals in the last six seasons.

But Ancelotti insists there is parity between them and United.

"Chelsea are on the same level as Manchester United, as a club and as a team," declared Ancelotti.

"The only thing is that Manchester has more tradition in respect to Chelsea, but this means that for us it can be a very good motivation to start this season very well."

Former chief operating officer Ron Gourlay has been installed as the new chief-executive but Ancelotti took time out to pay tribute to the work of the outgoing Kenyon.

His departure also puts the spotlight back onto the club's sporting director Frank Arnesen.

The Dane is responsible for the academy at the club and in the wake of FIFA's transfer ban for inducing youngster Gael Kakuta to breach his contract with Lens two years ago, his position is expected to come under further scrutiny.

But Ancelotti said: "The role of Frank Arnesen is sporting director and he is working very close with me.

"I have a good relationship with him and we want to do the best for the club.

"Peter Kenyon did a very good job but I didn't know him very well. I spoke with him in the period that I've been here but he leaves a fantastic team and club and he worked very well for Chelsea."

Ancelotti insists that Chelsea are certainly not an unbeatable commodity as they prepare for their toughest test of the season against Tottenham on Sunday.

The Italian coach has guided the Blues to six straight wins - five in the Barclays Premier League and one in the Champions League - but they will face a revitalised Spurs at Stamford Bridge.

Their north London rivals have lost just once this season and Redknapp's side are certainly capable of putting a dent into Chelsea's fine start to the campaign.

Ancelotti's side are top of the table going into the game but the Chelsea coach is fully aware that Spurs can put the first blemish on his English record.

"I have never seen an unbeatable team," said Ancelotti. "Chelsea is not unbeatable but we are doing well.

"I am not surprised by our start to this season. I had one month before the start of the season to know the players, their mental attitude and their quality.

"I know the rivalry between the two teams and how important this match is for the fans. We have to pay attention to this and we want to win.

"I saw Tottenham's last games and they have started very well. For me it was a surprise, they played very well against Liverpool and Manchester United.

"They lost that game but they have good style and quality players. In attack, Jermain Defoe is a very dangerous striker and Aaron Lennon is a very quick player.

"We have to pay attention to this because they can cause us difficulties in the game.

"But we are in a very good condition and have a very good feeling about our play. We have the possibility to win this important match.

"I said last week that this is a very important moment of the season and we have started very well with victory over Stoke and Porto and we want to continue this.

"Tottenham will play two strikers that we will have to control. We know the quality of Peter Crouch, Lennon and Defoe. They can be dangerous because they are very quick. We don't leave the possibility for them to counter-attack against us.

"We want to start at the top of the league and maintain this position and if possible, improve the distance between us and the second placed team."

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