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Cole primed for Blues return - Ancelotti
Published : 24 Apr 2010 08:03:00
Carlo Ancelotti insists Ashley Cole is mentally ready to return to first-team action at Chelsea after months of injury and personal turmoil. The 29-year-old has recovered from the broken ankle he sustained against Everton back in February but his marriage to wife Cheryl remains in trouble following lurid headlines. Cole was back in the squad for the defeat at Tottenham last weekend but remained an unused substitute. There is every chance he could make a playing return against Stoke on Sunday as Chelsea prepare for another massive weekend in the title race. "I think he passed a bad moment because the injury was very serious," said Ancelotti. "But he has had time to recover very well, not only physically but also with a good mentality. Now he's fit 100%. "I think that he is focused, 100%, on playing football. Nothing else." Chelsea will be without suspended captain John Terry and injured midfielder John Obi Mikel against Tony Pulis' side. The Blues are one point clear of Manchester United at the Barclays Premier League summit but that could have all changed by the time the Blues take the field. A United victory over Spurs at Old Trafford this lunchtime will pile the pressure back on Chelsea. But Ancelotti reckons his players are ready to finish the job and become champions by winning their remaining three games. "I've always said we have a very good squad, not only technically but with a good mentality," added the Italian. "Sometimes we've lost some games but I think that now we have all the quality to finish the season well - technically and physically, but also mentally. "The players are fresh. They don't have a problem. We looked a bit tired against Tottenham, but it was not a physical problem. We've trained very hard this week. "The players are fit. When I say this, I am objective." Chelsea have put contract talks with a number of players - including Michael Ballack, Joe Cole and Nicolas Anelka - on hold until the end of the season. But Ancelotti does not believe their futures depend on what silverware arrives at Stamford Bridge. "Absolutely not," he added. "Now we are involved in important competitions, but we will take a decision at the end of the season. "We have time. The season will finish on May 15 and we will start in July. So we have two months to make a decision on contracts. It's not dependent upon winning the league." Chelsea have already been linked with new players in the summer, so Ancelotti took time out to announce five new additions to his squad for next term. The Italian revealed he will elevate Jeffrey Bruma, Gael Kakuta, Fabio Borini, Nemanja Matic and Patrick Van Aanholt from the club's academy ranks - and admitted some current first-team players may move on as a result. "The only sure thing will be that, next season, there will be five players from the academy in the squad," Ancelotti said. "Some players will maybe move on. "It's not because we don't have the money. It's because we want to give strength to our academy. "We have very good young players and this is the time to put them in the squad for next year. They are able to stay in Chelsea's squad."