Belfast Telegraph

Chelsea boss Ancelotti has Christmas Blues

Carlo Ancelotti has insisted Chelsea's squad is strong enough to cope with four games in 10 days, despite venting his anger at a schedule that sees them play twice inside 48 hours.

Blues captain John Terry has suggested his side no longer have the strength in depth to handle the kind of injuries that have co-incided with their worst run in the Barclays Premier League for more than a decade.

But manager Ancelotti was adamant 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 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.

“I want to say something about the Bolton game because we won't have the possibility to recover,” he said.

“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, so we have to stay focused on these games.”

Belfast Telegraph

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