Carlo Ancelotti has insisted there is no need for a fire sale at Chelsea this summer, regardless of who is manager.
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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.