Carlo Ancelotti yesterday promised to put the high-tech sports science of the famous Milan Lab behind England's challenge for next summer's World Cup to ensure the likes of Frank Lampard and John Terry are fit and fresh in South Africa.
The Milan Lab was set up in 2002 with the aim of reducing injuries through a detailed, personalised analysis of each player. The data became so sophisticated it could tell if a player was tired and therefore more susceptible to injury just by the way they jump. The Milan Lab boasts it has reduced injuries by 90 per cent, and has successfully prolonged the careers of players such as Paolo Maldini and Filippo Inzaghi.
That scientific approach has been brought to Chelsea in the hulking form of Bruno Demichelis, Ancelotti's right-hand man and one of the key figures at the Milan Lab. Four years ago, Ancelotti's Milan provided five players to the Italian squad which won the title in Germany. Now that expertise will be to England's advantage.
Fatigue is always a key factor for England at major tournaments, as many players jet off in a state of near exhaustion after a long season in which they have clocked up more than 60 games at club level.
Ancelotti however pledged that his international stars such as Terry and Lampard will be given enough rest between now and the end of the season to ensure there is no hint of burn-out when they join Fabio Capello's squad for the World Cup in June.
"When I played, it was work, work, work every day," Ancelotti said. "These days you work hard with intensity, but it's also important to give the players rest to prevent injuries. This is our way. We used this in Milan and we're using it now at Chelsea. I think, at the end of May, Terry and Lampard will be in very good condition and will do a fantastic World Cup."
Terry will not feature at all in tonight's Carling Cup tie with Bolton, while Lampard moves to the bench. Ancelotti is without Ashley Cole still, while Joe Cole starts, alongside young English striker Daniel Sturridge.
Ancelotti remained phlegmatic about the outbreak of swine flu at Blackburn, beaten 5-0 at Chelsea on Saturday. He said: "I'm not worried. The flu is not only on the pitch, it's everywhere. I know what to do if I have the flu. It's my grandmother's prescription. Hot milk. Alcohol – red wine. Fantastic."
Bolton manager Gary Megson revealed four players had been hit by swine flu earlier in the season but the club chose to keep it secret. Megson said: "There's nothing you can do about it. It's no big deal, we didn't tell people at the time and rightly so."
Bolton have their work cut out at Stamford Bridge, where Chelsea have not conceded a goal in any competition for a remarkable 11 hours and 32 minutes, since Hull's Stephen Hunt scored on the opening day of the season.
Chelsea team (4-4-2): Hilario; Belletti, Alex, Ivanovic, Ferreira; Ballack, Deco, J Cole, Malouda; Kalou, Sturridge.Reuse content