Carlo has faith in Blues youngsters

Didier Drogba, Michael Essien, John Obi Mikel and Salomon Kalou

will all depart Stamford Bridge in January for the African Cup of

Nations, leaving the opportunity for fringe players to fill in and

prove themselves. Daniel Sturridge has already spoken of his desire

to perform well in Drogba’s absence, while a number of other

players will also be keen to impress Ancelotti. The Italian

tactician rejected claims that he is worried about the loss of

certain key figures for the duration of the tournament in Angola,

and is not concerned about the returning fitness of his African

stars. “I think that they have to play,” he said. “They have to

play a good competition. “We are not worried about this because the

players are used to playing a lot of games during the season. “We

are not worried. I think that they will return in good condition.

“We have African players and I think when they have to play for the

national team it is no problem. “It is like the European players. I

think that this is not a problem. Every top player has to go in the

national team. “It is not a problem for the Africans because it is

not a problem for the Europeans. “I think that it will be a great

opportunity for the (young) players to show their quality and I

hope that they will do a very good job because I trust in these

players. “We have young players and we want to use those for

January.” Ghanaian midfielder Michael Essien is to stay at Stamford

Bridge for an extra week as he recovers from a minor knock, while

Nicholas Anelka is set to return for the FA Cup game against

Watford at the weekend. “He (Anelka) will be ready to return in the

squad,” he added. “I think that tomorrow (Thursday) he will train

with us. “He is in good condition, he trained alone, he has

recovered very well and will play in the next game.” Following the

sacking of Bolton manager Gary Megson, Ancelotti remarked: “I think

that it is a normal situation for a coach. “It is the same in

England as in Italy – in Italy a lot of coaches start the season

and they don’t finish the season. It is normal.”