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50-50: Liverpool vs. Real Madrid

Champions League 1 day ago
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By ESPN Staff
Dec 23, 2009

Ancelotti happy to put faith in Sturridge and Borini

Carlo Ancelotti is happy to rely on his young strikers to help Chelsea through one of the most critical periods of the season.

The Italian coach will be without Didier Drogba and Salomon Kalou against Fulham on Monday as they are heading off to link up with the Ivory Coast on Sunday.

The pair, along with Ghana's Michael Essien and Nigeria's John Mikel Obi, are all taking part in the African Nations Cup in January, but the Ivory Coast want their players to join them for a training camp 14 days before the tournament begins on January 10.

Ancelotti again insisted he does not intend to spend any money on new players in the transfer window and is content to rely on the likes of Fabio Borini and Daniel Sturridge, who have yet to score for the club, against Fulham and then into January.

Nicolas Anelka, Ancelotti's only other main striker, is out of both festive games against Birmingham on Saturday and Fulham on Monday due to a muscle problem.

Chelsea are four points clear of Manchester United at the top of the table going into the Christmas programme but the Italian is adamant buying a striker or two is out of the question.

"No, I'm not changing my mind," he said. "I didn't ask (owner) Roman (Abramovich) for new players and he has not asked me if I want them.

"I have a lot of confidence in my strikers. Not only Drogba, not only Kalou, not only Anelka - also Sturridge and Borini. Against Fulham, maybe we'll only have Sturridge and Borini, but in January we'll have Anelka and, in January, he'll be ready to play.

"I didn't ask for new players to my club. I think that we have good solutions internally. Even if we lose the African players. If you have new players, maybe it's a problem in February or March. We don't need them in this moment, to have new players.

"Anelka has a little injury, a muscle problem. It's a small problem but he's not ready to play in these games. Against Fulham also.

"We will still have 11 against Fulham. If Didier is not here, we can put in other players. Sturridge has an opportunity to show his qualities. He played against West Ham very well in that second half and, maybe, against Birmingham he can play from the beginning.

"They are very important games. We are in a very good position. We have four more points at the top.

"We're not in our best moment because we didn't play well in the last few games but, because of this, we have to stay concentrated and focused to try and win our next matches.

"We play very strong teams having very good results, Birmingham and Fulham, so we have to pay attention. It's a very important moment but we still have possibilities, if we do 100%, to win."

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