Business as usual against Arsenal for mourning Ancelotti
London: The death of Carlo Ancelotti`s father has cast a shadow over training but Chelsea and their Italian manager will be raring to go for Sunday`s clash with Arsenal, according to assistant Ray Wilkins.
The number two told reporters at the champions` rainswept training ground on Friday that he expected Ancelotti to be pacing the touchline as ever at Stamford Bridge despite 87-year-old Giuseppe`s death on Wednesday.
The Italian will fly back to England after the funeral on Saturday and will select the team for a derby that promises to be another tough test for the Premier League leaders after losing to Manchester City last week.
"The players were down yesterday, to be honest," said Wilkins.
"They`ve got a fantastic rapport with Carlo and they were saddened by the news. So yesterday`s session was not as bright as it might have been."
"But Carlo is back on Saturday. He will join us in the hotel on Saturday night and will be on the touchline on Sunday.”
Wilkins agreed that Ancelotti could come back on Saturday night and feel that he was not in the right state of mind for the occasion but the former England international doubted that would happen somehow.
"He absolutely loves football, it`s his passion so he will want to be on that touchline on Sunday.”
"It`s always a big game against Arsenal," added Wilkins, praising the North Londoners` passing and movement as probably the best in the league. "We enjoy these games and the players enjoy them immensely."
Chelsea won their opening five league games, scoring 21 goals and letting in just one, but stumbled in their first big obstacle at City, a club whose Abu Dhabi owners have even deeper pockets than their own billionaire Roman Abramovich.
Arsenal also lost at home to West Bromwich Albion but both they and Chelsea have been revived by strong performances in midweek Champions League games.
Chelsea will again be without injured England midfielder Frank Lampard and Salomon Kalou up front but Didier Drogba will be looking to continue his impressive record against the Gunners.
"In big games he always comes to the fore," said Wilkins. "Hopefully it will be no different on Sunday.”
"He scores against everybody because he is a world-class footballer," added the number two. "The spotlight is on us on Sunday and he will certainly rise to the occasion."
Wilkins said Lampard had recovered from recent hernia surgery but picked up a slight groin strain while resuming training.
"It has given him a little problem neither he nor we anticipated," he said. "He joined us for part of a training session and didn`t feel comfortable and it is important we get it right for Frank and for us.”
It`s important he is fully ready to play at the top-level again."