Chelsea have players to cope, says Ancelotti

Cobham: Chelsea can cope without three leading players in Tuesday’s Champions League visit of Olympique Marseille, coach Carlo Ancelotti said on Monday.

Chelsea face the French champions in their second Group F match without suspended striker Didier Drogba and the injured Frank Lampard and Salomon Kalou.

“I have a lot of options, (Daniel) Sturridge and (Gael) Kakuta are Chelsea players, we have them as options. At certain times in the season you are going to have two or three injuries -- it is not a problem,” Ancelotti told reporters.

“We have a good mix, young players who are improving, and players with lots of experience.”

Questions were raised about the strength in depth of Ancelotti squad after their first Premier League defeat of the season by Manchester City on Saturday where they lost 1-0.

Ancelotti had a number of youngsters on the bench at Eastlands including 17-year-old Josh McEachran, Kakuta, 19, and Patrick van Aanholt 20.

Drogba’s enforced absence on Tuesday meant that Florent Malouda and Nicolas Anelka would definitely start up front against Marseille, said Ancelotti. The Italian added Sturridge or Kakuta would be the third attacking player.

He also said he was looking forward to meeting up with Marseille coach Didier Deschamps, the former Chelsea player, who also played under Ancelotti for six months when he was coach at Juventus.

“I have a very good relationship with him and he is having a fantastic career as a coach, he took Monaco to the Champions League final, he won the title last year in France and I will be very happy to see him tomorrow,” said Ancelotti.

“I will offer him a glass of wine ... Italian wine, not French.”

Another man facing something of a reunion will be Anelka, who will take on a French side for the first time since he was sent home from the World Cup following his criticisms of then-France coach Raymond Domenech in South Africa.

“He has nothing to prove to the French public. He is always quiet, always calm, I don’t think he will be scared because the game is on French television,” added Ancelotti.

Bureau Report

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