Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 24 September 2014

Ancelotti to keep on tinkering with Chelsea

Carlo Ancelotti insists he will keep on tinkering with his Chelsea squad after watching them despatch west London neighbours Fulham 2-0 with consummate ease.

Chelsea made four changes from the side that defeated Sunderland last Tuesday but it made little difference to the cohesion as goals from Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka fired them to a 2-0 victory at Craven Cottage.

Ancelotti left midfielders Deco and Michael Essien on the bench along with centre-half Branislav Ivanovic and striker Salomon Kalou and promised that his rotation policy will continue.

"Deco was out and Essien was out for this game," said Ancelotti. "But it was a good line-up. Essien has played all the games so far, so I wanted to give him a rest.

"He will play the next game. We have to follow this line."

Ancelotti was also left drooling at the Drogba-Anelka combination in attack.

The pair were untouchable against the Cottagers even though Anelka was playing in behind lone striker Drogba instead of alongside him.

They both created goals for each other and Fulham had no answer to their power, pace and trickery.

"I am sure they can play together because they are fantastic strikers and have different qualities," said Ancelotti.

"For the first goal, Nicolas put a fantastic pass through for Didier and for the second goal, Didier put a fantastic pass through for Nicolas. They did a very good job together.

"Nicolas is a very complete striker. He can play in the centre and on the right and left, he can play behind the striker.

"Our idea today for Nicolas was that he would stay a little bit behind Didier. In the first-half he played a little bit on the right and our play was not so good but it improved in the second half because he took a position more in the centre."

Chelsea are now second in the Barclays Premier League with a 100% record from three games and Ancelotti admitted it had been the perfect start to his reign at Stamford Bridge.

"It is a great start," said Ancelotti. "We wanted to do this. It is a good moment for the team. We have to maintain this now.

"The players have a good motivation and no problems. It is very good.

"It is the first time we have not conceded and that is good. The defensive line played very well. They had very good concentration and movement. They played a fantastic match."

Fulham boss Roy Hodgson accepted that Chelsea had been the better side and revealed how Jonathan Greening's agent prevented him from signing in time to play any part in the game.

Greening has joined the club on a season-long loan from West Bromwich Albion but Hodgson said the deal was held-up for six hours while the player's agent waited for his own fee to be agreed.

Hodgson also hinted that his side looked tired after their midweek Europa League victory over Russian side Amkar Perm.

"We certainly played like we were tired," said Hodgson. "I thought our energy levels were low. We kept Chelsea at bay for long periods by keeping a decent shape but we never got close enough to disturb them as much as we would have liked to have done.

"In the end we lost and deservedly so. Looking at this game over 90 minutes I thought Chelsea deserved to win it. Both their goals came from clearances that bounced back to them.

"We didn't look like conceding a hatful of goals but on the other hand I didn't think we had anything near enough like the possession we would have needed to cause them more problems.

"They have the technique and pace to cause problems for the opposition and they caused problems for us today and we lost the game.

"They didn't pepper our goal with shots but they had control of the game after half-time and we didn't have enough in our locker."

As for Greening's situation, Hodgson added: "His agent took six hours to agree the agency fees so between 12.30 and 6.30pm, the agent was refusing to let him sign because his fee had not been agreed.

"When he eventually signed at 6.30pm it was an hour-and-a-half too late."

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