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Sep 28, 2010

Ancelotti insists rookies are ready for Europe

Manager Carlo Ancelotti is confident his Chelsea youngsters are good enough to cut it in the Champions League - starting on Tuesday against Marseille.

• Lampard out for two weeks

Chelsea are short of experience with Didier Drogba suspended and Frank Lampard, Salomon Kalou and Yossi Benayoun all injured so Ancelotti will turn to his teenagers to provide back up.

The untested quintet of Josh McEachran, Jeffrey Bruma, Gael Kakuta, Fabio Borini and Patrick van Aanholt are all in contention to line up alongside Ancelotti on the bench but the Chelsea boss insists he is happy with the situation.

"I have a lot of options," Ancelotti said. "Obviously it is important to have experience in the squad but we want our young players to be able to play at this level and then the experience will come later.

"We have a good mix of young, improving players and others with enough experience to play a fantastic game.

"The decision for the game against Marseille is who plays on the right up front. Anelka and Malouda will start then I must choose between Kakuta, Daniel Sturridge or some other player. Josh McEachran is not ready to start, but maybe from the bench if he is needed.

"Up front, we have to consider that Sturridge and Kakuta are Chelsea [first-team] players. And McEachran also. It's normal to have injuries and this is not a problem for us."

Ancelotti, who only added Benayoun, 30, and Brazil midfielder Ramires, 23, to his squad after letting ten players go in the summer, lost his first game of the season against Manchester City at the weekend, when the introduction of youngsters Sturridge and McEachran failed to inspire a comeback.

"I said before Saturday it would be very difficult to remain unbeaten the whole season, so we are not so upset to lose our record," Ancelotti said.

"It was not the first time we have lost a game and it will not be the last, so I am not looking for a reaction from my players against Marseille. I just need them to play their football and pay attention."

French champions Marseille have struggled to find the form that won them the title last season and lost their opening Champions League match 1-0 at home to Spartak Moscow.

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