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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Ancelotti backs under-fire Lampard and Cech (Yahoo News)

AFP – Chelsea's Italian Manager Carlo Ancelotti, seen here at training, has backed goalkeeper Petr Cech …

LONDON (AFP) – Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti has backed goalkeeper Petr Cech and Frank Lampard to bounce back from being blamed for the club's defeat to Manchester City at the weekend.

Cech was criticised for allowing Carlos Tevez to score City's winner from a 25-yard free-kick while Lampard has been under the spotlight for having an 83rd-minute spot-kick saved by Shay Given.

But Ancelotti shrugged off both incidents as minor blips and insisted Chelsea had played reasonably well at Eastlands.

"This season, I think Cech did very well," the Italian said. "I like him. He takes the responsibility and likes to come out and catch the ball in the box.

"He could do better if you ask me about the free-kick on Saturday. I think the goalkeeper has to stay on his post and, if the player puts the ball over the wall and in, we have to congratulate him.

"Even a good goalkeeper can make a mistake sometimes but this season Petr has been doing very well."

Ancelotti added: "I can say that, at our training ground, Lampard is the player who practices penalties more than any other player."

With Chelsea having already won their group in the Champions League, Ancelotti has the option of resting key players for Tuesday's clash with Apoel Nicosia.

Captain John Terry could be allowed to rest a sore knee while Michael Ballack and Ashley Cole are struggling with ankle and knee problems respectively.

APOEL have yet to win a match in group D but their coach, Ivan Jovanovic, insisted they have learned from their experience amongst Europe's elite this season.

"Chelsea are the best team in this group," said Jovanovic. "They are certainly one of the teams capable of winning the tournament.

"We will try our best as we have done in every game we have played this season.

"My team has exceeded itself. We will try and do the same tomorrow and hope for the best possible result. Our progress in the last six months is what we will take out of this Champions League experience.

"We will try to do everything to be here again next year. It is the greatest recognition we have had."

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