Ancelotti: No Blues fire sale

The past week has seen Blues boss Ancelotti appear all but resigned

to losing his job at the end of the season after overseeing what is

set to be the club’s worst campaign since Roman Abramovich’s

takeover. There has also been intense speculation about the future

of several of Chelsea’s senior players, many of whom have been

unable to maintain their form from last term. There has been no

sign of the likes of Didier Drogba, Nicolas Anelka and Jose

Bosingwa being offered new contracts to replace the ones which

expire at the end of next season, while questions have also been

asked about the durability of Michael Essien, John Obi Mikel,

Salomon Kalou, and even Frank Lampard and captain John Terry. But

despite Chelsea sitting in third place behind Manchester United and

Arsenal in the Premier League and suffering earlier-than-expected

exits from every cup competition this term, Ancelotti was adamant

only minor changes are needed. He said: “I don’t think there will

be a lot of changes during the summer because we bought very

important players in January, David Luiz and (Fernando) Torres. “I

don’t think we need to have too many more changes.” Many of

Chelsea’s players are now in their thirties but Ancelotti claimed

this did not mean they were on the way down. “After 30 years old,

you can use your experience to maintain yourself at the top level,”

he said. “I think that football is not just physical, it’s not just

technical. It’s experience, ability to manage yourself, to be

professional. “When you increase your age, your professionalism

improves every time – if you are intelligent. “I think that this

club has very intelligent players.” Players that are not so easily

replaced, according to Ancelotti, who added: “Every player has

particular skills and abilities, which are difficult to replace.”

Indeed, Chelsea’s season began to unravel when injuries struck

towards the end of last year and Ancelotti gave his clearest

indication yet that his squad was not strong enough after five

senior players were allowed to leave last summer. “I don’t think

the squad was good enough this year,” said the Italian, who

nevertheless insisted the club’s injury crisis had been

unforeseeable. “At the start of the season, we couldn’t have

envisaged having very important players out at the same time. “We

struggled to manage this – without Lampard, Drogba, Essien, Terry,

Alex. It was very difficult. “At a certain point in the season, we

needed to put (Paulo) Ferreira in at centre-back because we’d lost

all our other centre-backs.” Ancelotti could be faced with a

decision in defence for the game against Birmingham, with Alex out

and Branislav Ivanovic a doubt. Midfielder Ramires is also missing

and, like, Alex will not return until after Saturday’s game with

West Ham.