Ancelotti: We've lost our fear factor
Carlo Ancelotti admits Chelsea no longer have the confident aura which saw them race away at the top of the Premier League at the beginning of the season.
The Chelsea manager, who has seen his side lose three of their last four league games, will take his team to Newcastle on Sunday still missing the experience of
Terry is expected to return next week after the pain from a nerve problem subsided in his leg, while Lampard will also be back in full training after a recurring groin injury. Essien, however, is suspended. But it is the loss of the fear factor, experienced by teams in the past against Chelsea, which Ancelotti pinpoints as most crucial.
Ancelotti said: "At the beginning of the season, when you're winning 6-0, you can put pressure on teams. Now a lot of teams have improved their confidence to play us. This is normal. We've had some problems playing against particular teams."
A late goal from Florent Malouda earned Chelsea a Champions League victory in midweek against MSK Zilina. But Ancelotti is bewildered why Chelsea's free-scoring game - only one goal in their last four league matches - has dried up over the past month.
Ancelotti said: "I am surprised about this. From the beginning of the season we didn't have a problem scoring or winning games. The last few games, particularly away from home, we weren't able to score. Our statistic has gone down from 21% to 6% in shots converted. We have to improve that.
"Against Sunderland we played very poorly. The other games, we've played well. We created a lot of opportunities to score and were sometimes unlucky. We have to stay more in focus. I said those first few weeks (of the season) wasn't real football. It was PlayStation football. But I didn't think it would be possible for us only to score once in four games.
"But it's not the time to speak about the missing players. We have to stay focused on the players we have. They have good ability and have put in good performances before this period. The others will come back and give support to the team when they're ready."
Ancelotti will welcome back Jose Bosingwa against Newcastle, who knocked Chelsea out of the League Cup earlier this season. "They won here and showed good organisation," said Ancelotti. "They're a good team. They have fantastic support from their fans. We have to be ready and pay attention.
Ancelotti wants his side to show the same invention and determination they did against Birmingham last week, when they were unlucky to lose 1-0. "We did everything right," said Ancelotti. "The performance was very good and we have to maintain this level of football, this intensity, against Newcastle."