Speaking to the press at Cobham on Thursday, Carlo Ancelotti revealed that his Chelsea sides forced two week break would benefit the Blues performances and reported that the return of Frank Lampard would play a significant role in the teams rehabilitation, starting with a visit to North London to take on Arsenal next week.
‘The important thing is that the players are fit and able to play. Obviously I think Lampard will be excited to play after a long time out. I think he can give fantastic support to the team with his performances.
‘I think it was an advantage because we trained well, we really improved our condition and it was a good time for us. Now we are ready to play.
Captain John Terry spoke to the clubs official website earlier in the week and his comments were reported in some quarters as a criticism of the current Blues squad strength in depth, something that Ancelotti refuted.
‘We had a problem because we had at the same time a lot of players injured,’ he said. ‘For this reason we had a bad moment. When you are not in a good moment it is difficult to put in the young players because you don’t want to put responsibility on their shoulders.
‘Now it is different, the squad is good and we have a lot of players in good condition, players without injury, and the squad is enough to play this game well at our best.’
With the Blues running out 3-1 victors on their last visit to the Emirates, Carlo was full of praise for the opposition but also clear about his sides objectives in the fixture.
‘Obviously we want to try the same game we played against them (Arsenal)and reach the same result.’
‘Arsenal has fantastic ability to play fantastic football, maybe they concede something defensively and we have to use our ability to find the right space to create difficulties in their defensive line.’
Arsene Wenger probably has sleepless nights about a certain Didier Drogba, with the Ivorian netting 13 goals in as many games against the Gunners since his arrival in SW6 in 2004. Ancelotti was modest on the subject whilst conceding that his sides fortunes rested on the form of his striker.
‘I think that they are a little bit afraid about the performance of Drogba because he did very well against them,’ he said, ‘but this cannot decide the game, though obviously if Drogba plays at his best we have more opportunity to win.
Looking ahead to a hectic festive period for the defending champions, with 4 games being played in 9 days, Carlo called for focus with the margin of error decreasing at the top of the table.
‘It is an important game obviously because both teams are involved in the fight for the title. Arsenal, Man City and Tottenham has the opportunity and skill to fight for the title until the end. I think it will be a race with balance because a lot of teams have the possibility to win, not just Chelsea and Man United.’