Ancelotti: No truth in Coentrao talk
Carlo Ancelotti has branded suggestions he was eyeing Benfica left-back Fabio Coentrao as a replacement for Ashley Cole as "totally rubbish".
There have been reports the Premier League champions would be prepared to sell England’s international Cole to Real Madrid, with Portugal counterpart Coentrao drafted in.
But Ancelotti dismissed this out of hand this afternoon, saying: "It’s not true, totally rubbish." Cole has reportedly been unsettled at Stamford Bridge following recent revelations about his private life but Ancelotti has repeatedly insisted he has no intention of selling "the best left-back in the world".
One Benfica player who is on the brink of completing a move to Chelsea is midfielder Ramires. But the £18million transfer appears unlikely to be wrapped up in time for the Brazil star to feature in Sunday’s Community Shield.
Ancelotti said: "Ramires is, until now, a Benfica player. When he is here, I can speak about him, not now." He added: "I don’t want to speak about Ramires. When Ramires will sign a contract for Chelsea, he will sign.
"This is the same for other players. I read a lot of names in the newspapers.
"Today, we don’t want to speak about these players because Sunday, we will have a very important game."
Chelsea’s only summer signing to date has been Yossi Benayoun, while the likes of Michael Ballack and Joe Cole have been allowed to leave.
This reflects the change in the club’s recruitment policy, which saw owner Roman Abramovich bankroll transfers to the tune of hundreds of millions of pounds when he first took over.
The Russian now wants more young players introduced to the squad and Ancelotti has been happy to comply. Despite the obvious risk this entails, the Italian is adamant Chelsea can repeat last season’s double-winning exploits this term.
"For us, after a fantastic season, it was very difficult to change this squad," he said. "We were totally agreed to maintain this squad. To put some young players in this squad from our academy, this was our aim.
"After a fantastic season, we could repeat the same season this year with these players."
For that reason, Ancelotti has no problem with the new Premier League rules limiting a club’s senior squad to 25 players.
"I think it is a good thing to have this," he said. "I don’t have a problem being given the opportunity to put homegrown players in the squad.
"I think it is a good thing for English football."
Ancelotti also refused to comment on Manchester United’s lack of transfer activity this summer.
"I don’t want to speak about the behaviour of Manchester United in the market, because it’s not my issue," he said of Sunday’s opponents.
Chelsea failed to register a win against top-flight opposition during pre-season and Ancelotti is eager to put that right this weekend.
"We need to come back to win because we’ve lost too many games," said the Blues boss, who backed his goalkeepers and captain John Terry to shake off their error-ridden form.
He said of Terry, who only recently returned to training following the World Cup: "After seven days, it’s difficult to say he is fit 100%.
"Maybe he made some mistakes but this is normal after seven days. Terry remains a fantastic player, remains a fantastic captain.
"I have trust in him, that he will have a fantastic game on Sunday."
He added of keepers Hilario – who will start at Wembley – and Ross Turnbull: "We want to have trust in these players.
"There was a mistake in the last game. We were unhappy about this but we maintain the trust in these players."
Ancelotti broke ranks with his fellow Premier League bosses by saying he had no problem with the scheduling of international friendlies for next week, insisting his players needed games.
And the Italian was expecting the usual suspects to challenge his side for the championship this term, saying: "I think that the teams that can win the title will be the same as last year, including obviously Man City, because they’ve bought fantastic players."