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Premier League

Beating United was key to title says Ancelotti

Chelsea coach Ancelotti insists their league double over Manchester United held the key to Chelsea's first Barclays Premier League title in four years.

The Blues beat United home and away but the 2-1 success at Old Trafford during the run-in was the most crucial.

"The key point, I think, was our victory at home and also, above all, in Manchester," declared Ancelotti.

"They were the key for this title because that improved our confidence and sent United a little bit down."

Now the Italian is convinced that the title success is just the start of a new era in the club's history.

Ancelotti could guide the Blues to an historic League and FA Cup Double next Saturday at Wembley if they can overcome Avram Grant's relegated Portsmouth.

The Blues finished one point ahead of Manchester United after smashing eight past Wigan in their final game of a glorious campaign.

A hat-trick from Didier Drogba, a double from Nicolas Anelka and other goals from Salomon Kalou, Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole made for a sensational last day.

But even though Chelsea have been labelled an ageing side that requires rebuilding, Ancelotti maintains the squad has the capacity to go on winning more silverware.

"I think that this club will have a future because these players are not so old and we have a very good squad, for next year and the years after," added the Italian.

"We had a fantastic season, not only by winning the Premier League but because we showed a good style on the pitch. After the first year, I hope to stay here a long time and win a lot of titles.

"We closed the season very well with a fantastic performance I think that, at the start of this match, there was a bit of pressure on us and we didn't play so well.

"But we played much better in the second half. We played a good match and won, and that was our aim.

"To win this game and close this title. We are very happy and I want to say a lot of thanks: to my owner, Roman Abramovich; to my club and everyone who worked with me in this season, supporting me every day; and above all my players.

"I found a fantastic team here who worked very well every day, maintaining a good atmosphere as a team. We won this title because we played as a team and worked as a team, everyone. Not only the players. Everyone at the club who was involved this season wanted to win this title and, in the end, everyone did a fantastic job.

"It's a fantastic moment. I remember every victory because every one stays in your mind. I'm happy to have done this in my first season. I had a lot of help because I found a team and a club with fantastic organisation. So it was easy for me to do my best.

"We had fantastic opponents and Manchester United stayed with us right to the end. I said it would go to the last game, so we have to be proud and happy that we won against such a fantastic team like United. They were a very good opponent.