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Chelsea v Blackburn Rovers: Preview
Published : 14 Jan 2011 20:15:24
Carlo Ancelotti has laughed off Frank Lampard's claim the current atmosphere at Chelsea was like the final days under Luiz Felipe Scolari and revealed he had spoken to Roman Abramovich about the club's miserable run.
Lampard compared the confidence of the squad at present to that during the end of Scolari's doomed reign just under two years ago.
The Blues are on an even poorer run than they were at that time - indeed, their worst in the league for almost 15 years - and have all but surrendered their title.
Despite this, Ancelotti continues to enjoy the backing of the club's billionaire benefactor, who he spoke to over the telephone this week and who may attend the game against Blackburn.
Ancelotti admitted Abramovich was "not happy" with recent results but that their exchange had been "positive", giving him confidence to shrug off Lampard's outburst.
"This is not good news!" he joked when asked about his vice-captain's concerns.
"I think the players, the team, lost some confidence in their football, the football that we played very well last year.
"But I think we are able to come back and play the same."
Ancelotti, whose side have slumped to fifth, added: "I don't know the feeling with Scolari, but the feeling here with the players is very good.
"Maybe it's the same atmosphere, but we have the capacity to move on.
"We are very close. I support the players at this moment, and the players support me.
"I think it's not a big problem if the players are not happy, no?
"I think the only reason they are not happy sometimes is that we didn't get the right results. This is the only reason."
Didier Drogba, Florent Malouda, Michael Essien and Ashley Cole could all return to the Chelsea side against Blackburn.
The quartet were all rested for Sunday's 7-0 FA Cup third-round thrashing of Ipswich and manager Ancelotti must decide whether to recall them against Rovers.
Ancelotti has no new injury concerns, with Alex, John Obi Mikel (both knee), Yury Zhirkov (calf) and Yossi Benayoun (Achilles) all still sidelined.
Blackburn will have new signing Roque Santa Cruz available to face Chelsea.
The Paraguay striker has rejoined Rovers on loan from Manchester City and after completing a medical, signed in time to be in contention to play at Stamford Bridge.
Goalkeeper Paul Robinson is fit to return after a calf injury and Steven Nzonzi (hamstring) could be back in contention. Nikola Kalinic is back from suspension while Gael Givet and Martin Olsson have overcome knocks. Vince Grella, Keith Andrews and Phil Jones remain on the sidelines and Brett Emerton is on international duty with Australia.
Santa Cruz jumped at the chance to return to Ewood Park, and told the club`s official website: "I feel like I am coming home. This has been the easiest decision of my career.
"I want to get playing and scoring goals again and this is a real chance for me to prove myself after a frustrating period. Everyone knows what Blackburn Rovers means to me."