Ancelotti admits to bad times behind the scenes

Carlo Ancelotti has achieved much in his time at Chelsea, not least dispelling the idea that successful managers need to bad-mouth referees and behave with aggression and attitude.

As a result the perception has grown that he is an honest, decent man. However, Ancelotti has admitted that he is not above telling the odd fib every now and again, as he prepares his team for tonight's trip to Blackpool.

He confessed he had lied when saying the atmosphere around the team was still buoyant during the club's worst run of form for more than a decade at the end of last year. Ancelotti said things were far worse than he had let on, and admitted it could have all gone backwards had Chelsea not come from a goal down to beat Manchester United 2-1 last week.

Ancelotti said: "A lot of times in the past I've said the atmosphere is good but sometimes it wasn't really good. Now the confidence has improved with that result. The atmosphere is really good. The players are training well, with confidence and ability."

Ancelotti is likely to recall Didier Drogba to the starting line-up tonight alongside £50m January signing Fernando Torres after the Ivorian had been on the bench for the last three games when Torres has been available.

The signings of Torres, who has yet to score for Chelsea, and David Luiz, who is doubtful with a hamstring strain, have given Ancelotti greater options, along with the return to fitness of players such as Yuri Zhirkov.

Ancelotti denies the new arrivals constitute a major upheaval at the club. "In my opinion, we can't say it's a new Chelsea. They are new players – Torres, Luiz, Ramires – who are very important players, playing in the first team. But I think that the spine is the same: Cech, Terry, Ivanovic, Essien, Lampard, Drogba and Anelka – the spine is the same," he said.