Ancelotti hails Kalou and Lampard
Carlo Ancelotti hailed the performance of Salomon Kalou as Chelsea took a giant stride towards the knockout stage of the UEFA Champions League with a 4-0 win over Atletico Madrid. The Ivorian, who missed two easy chances early on, scored in each half during the victory.
His efforts were followed by Frank Lampard's first strike in open play for the club this season, and an own goal from Luis Perea. The result left Chelsea in firm control of Group D. They are eight points ahead of Atletico and three in front of second-placed Porto, and Ancelotti was more than happy.
"I prefer to talk about the good performance because we did well," he said. "The first half was more difficult because Atletico had good opportunities. The match was in the balance.
"But after Kalou's first goal, we did a good match, a good transition into attack and played very well. Kalou is an important player for us because, when we are without (Didier) Drogba, he can play and play well.
"He didn't start the game well because he made a big mistake, but he maintained good motivation and good focus on his match to score twice after that. For him, it was very important to score. Also for us. He played very well for us."
Ancelotti was also happy with Lampard's first goal after a ten-game drought. "I'm happy for Lampard, for sure," he added. "I think that Lampard is not only important scoring goals. He's important because he works for 90 minutes on the pitch for the team.
"He's very generous, an unselfish player, and for me that's important. Yes, if he scores, it's better, but I want to speak about Lampard for his work, not just for his goals.
"We did better at set-plays. We scored two goals from our own set-plays. It's important to avoid losing concentration on set-plays. We are in control now of this group, but our aim is to arrive in first place. That's important for our future in the Champions League, and it's still not certain.
"We have to secure more points in the group. It's not been easy without suspended Didier Drogba, but all the players have done very well in this competition so far."
Kalou was delighted to score twice after a glaring miss in the opening few minutes. "After not playing a couple of games, to come back into the team it was important for me to get confidence back by scoring," he said.
"All the boys were saying after I missed the first opportunity, 'don't worry about it, it will come', and I'm happy it came in the end. It was very important to win that game because it gave us nine points.
"It's good to get confidence back by winning and everyone gave his best today and we have the result in the end. After the disappointment of last week [against Villa] we had the opportunity to show it was a mistake."
Atletico Madrid coach Abel Resino blamed the defeat on his team's failure to score from their own chances. "It's one of those bitter tastes," he reflected. "We probably had as many chances as Chelsea, but the ball just didn't want to go in the net for us.
"It's not going for us. That's football. My job is to find a solution. You can look to blame someone if you want. I'm not just thinking about the group. I've also got to worry about our league form back home.
"It gets more and more difficult when you're confidence is down. Chelsea hurt us when it mattered and capitalised on the chances we missed. We have to stay calm, don't panic, and keep working hard to prepare for the next game.
"The boys tried right to the very end. We deserve credit for that. I'm a fighter. I will fight to the last second in this job. I never give up. Only mediocre people give up the fight. You have to keep your head up. With one result, confidence will start to grow.
"We haven't had many games where we haven't created chances. We were scoring for fun last season, but it's not going for us at the moment. That can happen in football."