Oversleeping is relaxed Ancelotti's main worry

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The Independent Online

Carlo Ancelotti may have never tasted coaching life outside his native Italy, but the new Chelsea manager insists his Premier League debut today does not represent a leap into the unknown.

The Italian, who spent 14 years in Serie A dugouts, begins life at Stamford Bridge with a visit from Hull City, aware that he cannot afford a sluggish start if he is to bring a first league title to West London since 2006.

That pressure would prove onerous for most new managers, but Ancelotti insists he is sanguine at the prospect of fulfilling the sky-high expectations of owner Roman Abramovich and even felt relaxed enough to joke that his only nerves stem from fears of oversleeping and missing today's lunch-time kick-off.

"This is a step into the new, not the unknown," he said. "I'm not in the dark. I know my team very well. I appreciate the squad over the month I've had here, and the quality of this team. I don't want to change with another team, for sure.

"This is the first season outside Italy so it is a bit different, but I want to do well with my team. I am happy, not afraid. For me, starting matches early is still a new thing. I expect to sleep well on Friday night and Saturday morning as well. I'll set the alarm as I must be ready at 1pm."

Like most of his managerial peers, Ancelotti expects the "Big Four" to come under assault from Manchester City and Aston Villa, but he stopped short of endorsing Sir Alex Ferguson's view that Chelsea, having retained all their senior players, are the most credible challengers to Manchester United's title.

"It's very competitive – more so than in Italy, where only three teams can win," he added. "The most important quality to winning the title is to have continuity. If we have strength and the right mental attitude we can win."

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