Ancelotti protects England stars
Carlo Ancelotti has promised that Chelsea's England contingent will be in the best possible condition for next summer's FIFA™ World Cup finals.
The Italian coach is determined to ensure that captain John Terry and midfielders Frank Lampard and Joe Cole are in the best of health for South Africa. Ancelotti has rested both Terry and Lampard for tonight's Carling Cup tie against Bolton at Stamford Bridge and the former AC Milan says it is part of his philosophy to protect his players from injury.
Ancelotti went so far as to name his starting XI for the clash with Bolton, something he was used to doing back home in Italy. "You want the starting line-up? Okay, it is Hilario, Juliano Belletti, Alex, Branislav Ivanovic, Paulo Ferreira, Michael Ballack, Deco, Florent Malouda, Joe Cole, Salomon Kalou, Daniel Sturridge. On the bench, Ross Turnbull, Jeffrey Bruma, Nemanja Matic, Michael Essien, Lampard, Fabio Borini and Didier Drogba.
"I don't know who the captain will be. The captain will be the player who has played a lot of matches in the squad. Usually, when I did an Italian press conference, the first thing was the line-up. If I said the line-up at the start of the press conference, the press conference is finished."
Terry and Lampard would normally play over 60 games a season for Chelsea and England and while Ancelotti accepts the game is different in this country, the players need to understand they have to rest at times. "If I have a possibility to give rest to the players, above all those who play in their national teams, it's better," added Ancelotti.
"At this moment, Terry and Nicolas Anelka are in very good condition, but if we want to maintain that, it's better to give them a rest. They do want to play every game, even this season. But, for them, it's better sometimes to rest.
"It's very important to prevent injuries. When I played, it was work, work, work every day. These days you work hard with intensity, but it's also important to give the players rest to prevent injuries. This is our way.
"We used this in Milan and we're using it now at Chelsea. When I arrived here I found a very good situation here already. Chelsea have been doing that. I think, at the end of May, Terry and Lampard will be in very good condition and will do a fantastic World Cup.
"A player on the bench might still pay 90, 80 or 45 minutes. He (Lampard) is not disappointed. He realises it's important for him to give his body some recovery time. He's not a young player. You have to maintain a good control."
Meanwhile, Ancelotti gave his squad a clean bill of health amid scares of a possible outbreak of swine flu at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea's 5-0 victory over Blackburn last Saturday became overshadowed by cases of swine flu among the Rovers squad.
The Blues were told Blackburn had a problem with the H1N1 virus the day before their clash, but Ancelotti is unconcerned some of his players may yet develop flu-like symptoms. "I'm not worried," said Ancelotti. "The flu is not only on the pitch, it's everywhere. We take all the precautions and we want to think about playing, that's it.
"We are not worried about this problem because we've taken all the precautions. I know very well what I have to do if I have the flu. It's not a medical prescription. It's my grandmother's prescription - hot milk. Alcohol - red wine. Fantastic."
Some Chelsea players swapped shirts after the game against Rovers but despite general medical advice not to shake hands or swap shirts, Ancelotti said his side would carry on as normal. "We will do the same things we normally do," added the Italian coach. "It's not a problem. I think the players have stayed very well up to this moment."