Ancelotti confirms Lampard setback

CHELSEA boss Carlo Ancelotti yesterday confirmed England midfielder Frank Lampard will miss tonight’s Champions League clash against Marseille at Stamford Bridge and Sunday’s Premier League showdown with Arsenal.

Lampard will also miss England’s Euro 2012 qualifier with Montenegro at Wembley next month after Ancelotti revealed the player needs more time to recover from hernia surgery.

The 32-year-old midfielder has now been absent for a month and Ancelotti maintained that he would not be in contention for a return to action until after the international break.

“Frank cannot play tomorrow,” Ancelotti said yesterday. “We need to have more time than we expected for his rest. He will be ready for the next game after the international break.

“He has not played for us so he will not be able to play for the national team.”

Chelsea suffered their first defeat of the season against Manchester City thanks to a Carlos Tevez winner at Eastlands on Saturday lunchtime but Ancelotti remains largely unconcerned.

Luckily, results elsewhere in the Barclays Premier League worked in Chelsea’s favour as the Blues still have a three-point lead at the top of the table.

“I was surprised by the result of Arsenal, they lost against West Brom at home,” said Ancelotti.

“It was a strange result. I said before Saturday that it would be very difficult to be unbeaten during the season because it is very competitive here.

“So for this reason, we are not so upset to lose our unbeaten record, but we have to look forward. It will not be the last time we lose a game.

“I don’t ask my players for a reaction. We have to play our football and pay attention. Marseille will look to get three points from this game because they lost the first one. Marseille are a good team. They play attacking football and they are quick.

“My players will know everything about our opponents but the main thing is our own game. We have to stay in focus. If we play at our best, we can win.”

Even though Chelsea are without the services of Lampard, Salomon Kalou, Yossi Benayoun and the suspended Didier Drogba, Ancelotti insists the squad is capable of coping with such losses against Didier Deschamps’ side.

“I think I have a lot of options,” he added. “We have to consider Daniel Sturridge and Gael Kakuta, it is normal during a season to have two or three injuries, this is not a problem.

“Experience is a good thing to have as a squad. Young players need to have experience. Once they play, the experience will come.

“We have a good mix in the squad with young players that are improving and players with experience. They have experience enough to play fantastic games.”

Meanwhile, Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel insists the Blues are coping without the talismanic figure of Lampard.

“Frank is an important player for this team, we all know that,” said Mikel.

“He has shown his consistency over the years but right now he is injured.

“It is a massive loss for the team but we are coping well without him. We have lost one game without him. We have also scored a lot of goals but we can’t wait to have him back.’’

Meanwhile Marseille boss Deschamps insists his side must be on top form if they are to get any reward from their visit to Stamford Bridge.

Deschamps returns to his former club boosted by two league victories but he is acutely aware Marseille cannot afford to make any mistakes against a Chelsea side smarting from two successive defeats.

Having lost their opening game to Spartak Moscow, Deschamps knows it is imperative they get something from their trip to west London.

“Winning two games does not so much give us a guarantee but a calmness going into this game,” said Deschamps. “It is a bigger task taking on a team like Chelsea.

“We have got to go into this game making no mistakes and playing at our top level.

“Chelsea have had a good start to the season but they have not played many sides from the upper echelons of the league.

“I did watch the game against Manchester City, who did a lot of good things that hopefully we can repeat.

“We need to close the space down and impose ourselves physically. These kind of games are settled in the finer details and let us hope it is settled in our favour.

“Chelsea at home in a European tie against most teams would be favourites. There are a lot of experienced heads in their team. They can cope with two defeats. But we are not here just to watch them play.”

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