Injuries force Blues to call on youngsters

CHELSEA will delve into their youth academy tonight in order to bolster a Champions League squad that has been ravaged by injury and suspensions.

Chelsea striker Didier Drogba and full-back Jose Bosingwa are banned while midfielders Deco, Joe Cole and Yuri Zhirkov, plus defenders Paulo Ferreira and Alex, are all missing through injury.

It means coach Carlo Ancelotti will add defenders Sam Hutchinson and Jeffrey Bruma to his squad along with Italian U19 international striker Fabio Borini.

But the lack of first team players has not dimmed Ancelotti’s desire to lead Chelsea to the final of the competition for the second time in their history.

Chelsea lost out in the final to Manchester United on penalties two seasons ago and last season they were cruelly sent crashing out in the semi-finals by Barcelona’s last-minute away goal at Stamford Bridge.

But Ancelotti believes, that with a bit of luck, they have the squad to reach the final once more and revealed he was brought to the club by owner Roman Abramovich because of his ability to build winning continental teams.

“It is not that the club asked me to win the Champions League, they asked me to win the Champions League, the Premier League, the FA Cup and the League Cup,” said Ancelotti.

“For Chelsea it is important to be in these competitions and to have the possibility to win.

“Chelsea haven’t won it, but they have come very close. Two years ago, they were one penalty away from winning it.

“They have been in the semi-final five times in six years. It is not easy to do this.

“To win the Champions League is very important. It is not a question of being unlucky or lucky, you have to do the best in this competition because it is a very important competition.

“We have to do the best and take it game by game. It is not an easy group, this, because there are important teams.

“Porto is an important team with great experience and also Atletico Madrid is a very good team.’’

Ancelotti added: “In our mind we want to arrive at the final of Champions League. To get there is not easy, but I think we have the possibility to do this.

“We don’t have Didier Drogba and Jose Bosingwa and also Joe Cole, Paulo Ferreira and Deco cannot play.

“We have had to take three players from the academy. We are happy to do this because we have very good talent in the academy.

“This will be a very good opportunity for them to enter in the squad – Sam Hutchinson, Jeffrey Bruma, and Fabio Borini.

“Didier is playing very well, he is scoring goals and he works very hard for the team, but now we have to think about the players we have. I think we have the possibility to play well without Didier.”

Drogba has been banned for four games by UEFA following his foul-mouthed outburst at the end of the semi-final defeat to Barcelona.

But Ancelotti clearly has a passion to lead Chelsea to glory in the one competition that has eluded them.

However, he is fully aware that Porto may give them a difficult start at Stamford Bridge tonight.

“They have very good experience and won the Champions League in 2004.

“They arrive many times in the last eight of Champions League. I think experience and tradition is very important.

“We know the team very well. They have very good quality. They are very quick in attack and we have to pay attention.

“But we want to win and it will be a very good game because Porto are not a team to defend, they like to play football.”


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