Carlo happy with Blues squad

Despite his side’s recent downturn in form the Chelsea manager

believes his squad is strong enough to deliver the twin goals of

the Premier League title and Abramovich’s priority of the Champions

League trophy. Ancelotti takes his team to Newcastle after three

defeats in their last four league matches and having scraped past

MSK Zilina in the Champions League in midweek with a late goal from

Florent Malouda. The Chelsea boss believes that goal could have

been a turning point. He said: “It was an important result even if

we know it was not against a top team. But maybe the victory

against Zilina could be a good step to move on quickly.” Ancelotti

is buoyed by the fact that John Terry, who feared he could be out

for months with a nerve problem in a leg, looks set to return to

action against Everton next week with Frank Lampard also due to

resume full training. And while centre-back Alex is scheduled to

have surgery on a troublesome knee next week after filling in for

Terry at Newcastle, Ancelotti is happy with Chelsea’s strength in

depth. “We don’t have long-term injuries,” he said. “We don’t need

to have other players in January. We have to look at the situation

of Alex and Terry and Lampard. “If all the players don’t show

problems we don’t need new players in January.” Ancelotti insisted

that allowing Ricardo Carvalho to leave in the summer was not a

mistake. He added: “It was Carvalho’s desire to go. We don’t want

to keep players who are not happy to stay here. There was an

opportunity for him to play for Real Madrid. We have three

fantastic centre-backs. “(Jeffrey) Bruma is young, he played a good

game against Zilina. Three experienced centre-backs is enough.”

Ancelotti convened a clear-the-air meeting with the players to try

to thrash out the reasons for the side’s recent dip and the

strikers have been undergoing extra shooting practice, but it is

not Ancelotti’s style to rant and rave. “I want to maintain a

quiet, calm atmosphere,” he explained. “I have spoken with the

players and everybody is agreed on the same way. We have to move on

quickly. “The dialogue with the players is important. We have to

clarify what is the problem together.” It was decided that

Chelsea’s biggest problem was not playing at a high-enough tempo

and now he believes his team can emerge from their current concerns

stronger than ever, much as they did after being beaten by Inter

Milan in the last 16 of the Champions League last season. He said:

“It was an important experience last year after the defeat against

Inter. After that the team was stronger than before that situation

and we can do the same. On Sunday, Chelsea must find a way to tame

the bulldozing talents of Newcastle’s 21-year-old striker Andy

Carroll, no easy feat when Alex is soldiering on with a dodgy knee.

“It is a good test,” is how Ancelotti puts it. “Carroll is a good

striker, very young, he has a lot of ability and skill. “He could

be an important player in the future for England. He reminds me of

Joe Jordan, this type of player.” It is also a test for Ancelotti,

who refuses to allow the onfield setbacks and the controversy over

sacked assistant Ray Wilkins to ruffle his demeanour but on

Saturday also saw Frank Arnesen depart. He said: “It is my

character to be funny sometimes. I am living a fantastic life. I

love my job.” Cue the inevitable question of whether he would

remain at Stamford Bridge next season. It teased a smile to his

lips and the response: “I think so.”