Chelsea boss Ancelotti puts faith in young duo
Chelsea will rely on Sturridge (above) and Borini
Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti is hoping young strikers Fabio Borini and Daniel Sturridge will score goals while his first-choice forwards are unavailable.
Didier Drogba and Salomon Kalou leave for the African Cup of Nations on Sunday and Nicolas Anelka is injured.
Borini, 18, and Sturridge, 20, have yet to score for the club.
But Ancelotti said: “I have a lot of confidence in my strikers. Not only Drogba, not only Kalou, not only Anelka. Also Sturridge and Borini.”
Drogba and Kalou will be available for Chelsea’s visit to Birmingham on Boxing Day but the following day they fly out to join up with the Ivory Coast’s training camp – two weeks before the tournament beings on 10 January.
And with Frenchman Anelka – Ancelotti’s only other established striker – ruled out because of a muscle problem – Chelsea will be forced to field an unfamiliar front line against Fulham on Monday.
Ancelotti added: “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.”
Ancelotti is adamant he will not spend in the January transfer window to boost his striking options.
“Against Fulham, maybe we’ll only have Sturridge and Borini. But in January, we’ll have Anelka. I think that we have good solutions internally. We don’t need new players in this moment,” stated Ancelotti.
“Anelka has a little injury, a muscle problem. It’s a small problem, but he’s not ready to play in these games.”
Fulham beat Manchester United 3-0 last Saturday and Ancelotti was impressed by the way they achieved their victory.
The Italian also has much respect for his Fulham counterpart Roy Hodgson and knows he will face a tactical battle on Monday.
“Fulham deserved to win, they played very well and stayed compact for 90 minutes. To win 3-0 against United is not easy,” said Ancelotti.
“I’ve known Roy a long time. When I was assistant coach of Italy, I went to watch his training when he was coaching the national team in Switzerland.
“I stayed one week with him watching his training. He’s very good putting his team in a good tactical position. They play 4-4-2, but he’s a very good teacher of this system.”