Carlo Ancelotti: John Terry is wrong - Chelsea CAN cope with injuries

23 December 2010 05:21
Carlo Ancelotti hit back at captain John Terry's suggestion that his Chelsea cannot cope with injuries, insisting his squad is strong enough to handle four games in 10 days, despite venting his anger at a schedule that sees them play twice inside 48 hours.

England defender Terry suggested his side no longer have the strength in depth to handle the kind of injuries that have coincided with their worst run in the Premier League for more than a decade.

But manager Ancelotti was adamant this afternoon that now all his key players have returned, there was no reason why they could not get their title challenge back on track, starting at Arsenal on Monday.

We can cope: Carlo Ancelotti has countered captain John Terry's claim that injuries would hit Chelsea's squad hard

'We had a problem because we had, at the same time, a lot of players injured,' said the Italian, whose side have won just one of their last seven league games to slump from top to fourth.

Terry claimed Chelsea would be unable to rotate over the busy festive period due to the increased number of youngsters in their squad following a summer cull of more experienced names.

But Ancelotti backed his fledglings, saying: 'When you are not in a good moment, it's very difficult to put in the young players because you don't want to put responsibility on their shoulders. But now it's different.

'The squad is good, the players are in good condition, players without injury, and the squad is enough in this moment to play this game well - at our best.'

Despite the vote of confidence, Ancelotti hit out at a schedule that sees his side host Bolton just two days after Monday night's match at the Emirates Stadium.

Not interested: Ancelotti denied reports linking Chelsea with a move for Modric

'I want to say something about the Bolton game because we won't have the possibility to recover,' he said, confirming his anger at the move.

'We'll have two days, compared to Bolton who, unfortunately, play on the 26th. We play on the 27th.

'That's not a good thing, to have one day less to recover. I'm not happy about that.'

Ancelotti was also irked by questions about his January transfer plans, including his reported interest in Tottenham playmaker Luka Modric.

'He's a good player, but no-one is speaking about him here,' he said.

'Also, there's no reason to speak now about new players. If we need to have something, we are able to do it.

'But there are a lot of games in this period - five games in a few days - so we have to stay focused on these games.'

On paper, Arsenal look to be the perfect opponents for Chelsea to get their faltering title defence back on track.

The Blues have won their last five meetings with Arsene Wenger's men in all competitions, including October's reverse fixture at Stamford Bridge.

Gunners captain Cesc Fabregas admitted this week his side go into games against Chelsea and Manchester United 'scared of losing'.

And Ancelotti played on that phobia when he claimed Arsenal were 'afraid' of Didier Drogba.

Drogba has tormented the Gunners down the years, scoring 13 times in 13 games against them.

The Ivory Coast striker has not been at his best this season following a malaria scare but still found the net against Arsenal in October.

'I think they are a little bit afraid of the performance of Drogba, because he's done very well against them,' said Ancelotti, who stressed the forward's performance would not decide Monday's game.

'If Drogba plays at his best, we'll have more opportunity to win.'

On the spot: Drogba carries Chelsea's title hopes going into their crunch clash against Arsenal

Sunday's postponed game with Manchester United means Chelsea could find themselves six points behind the leaders when they take to the field on Monday.

'We don't want that gap to widen, so it's important to obtain an important result in this game,' said Ancelotti, who will give his players Christmas Day off this year.

The Italian arrived at Thursday's pre-match press conference fresh from the squad's Christmas lunch, saying: 'Very good food, very good drink, it was a good moment.

'They have to pay attention now.'

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Source: Daily_Mail