Ancelotti: Squad lacks depth
Carlo Ancelotti rejected suggestions Chelsea's squad needs a summer overhaul, but he did admit they lacked the required depth this season.
Ancelotti's future at Chelsea has been the subject of wild speculation on the back of a disappointing campaign for last year's double winners, but senior players have also been mentioned among those who could be headed for the exit door.
There has been no sign of the likes of Didier Drogba, Nicolas Anelka and Jose Bosingwa being offered new contracts to replace the ones which expire at the end of next season, while questions have also been asked about the durability of Michael Essien, John Obi Mikel, Salomon Kalou, and even Frank Lampard and captain John Terry.
But despite Chelsea languishing in third place behind Manchester United in the Premier League and suffering earlier-than-expected exits from every cup competition this term, Ancelotti was adamant ahead of his side's clash with Birmingham on Wednesday that only minor changes were needed.
He said: "I don't think there will be a lot of changes during the summer because we bought very important players in January, David Luiz and (Fernando) Torres. I don't think we need to have too many more changes.''
Many of Chelsea's players are now in their thirties but Ancelotti claimed this did not mean they were on the way down.
"After 30 years old, you can use your experience to maintain yourself at the top level,'' he said. "I think that football is not just physical, it's not just technical. It's experience, ability to manage yourself, to be professional. When you increase your age, your professionalism improves every time - if you are intelligent. I think that this club has very intelligent players.''
Players that are not so easily replaced, according to Ancelotti, who added: "Every player has particular skills and abilities, which are difficult to replace.''
Indeed, Chelsea's season began to unravel when injuries struck towards the end of last year and Ancelotti yesterday gave his clearest indication yet that his squad was not strong enough after five senior players were allowed to leave last summer.
"I don't think the squad was good enough this year,'' said the Italian, who nevertheless insisted the club's injury crisis had been unforeseeable. "At the start of the season, we couldn't have envisaged having very important players out at the same time. We struggled to manage this - without Lampard, Drogba, Essien, Terry, Alex. It was very difficult. At a certain point in the season, we needed to put (Paulo) Ferreira in at centre-back because we'd lost all our other centre-backs.''
Ancelotti could be faced with a decision in defence for Wednesday night's game against Birmingham, with Alex out and Branislav Ivanovic a doubt. Midfielder Ramires is also missing and, like, Alex will not return until after Saturday's game with West Ham.