Ancelotti dismisses swine flu fears

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The Independent Football

Chelsea coach Carlo Ancelotti gave his squad a clean bill of health amid scares of a possible outbreak of swine flu at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea's 5-0 victory over Blackburn last Saturday has become overshadowed by cases of swine flu among the Rovers squad.

The Blues were told Blackburn had a problem with the H1N1 virus the day before their clash, but Ancelotti is unconcerned some of his players may yet develop flu-like symptoms.

"I'm not worried," said Ancelotti. "The flu is not only on the pitch, it's everywhere. We take all the precautions and we want to think about playing, that's it.

"We are not worried about this problem because we've taken all the precautions.

"I know very well what I have to do if I have the flu. It's not a medical prescription. It's my grandmother's prescription - hot milk. Alcohol - red wine. Fantastic."

Some Chelsea players swapped shirts after the game against Rovers but despite general medical advice not to shake hands or swap shirts, Ancelotti said his side would carry on as normal.

"We will do the same things we normally do," added the Italian coach.

"It's not a problem. I think the players have stayed very well up to this moment."

However Ancelotti will rest a host of his regular first-team players against Bolton in the Carling Cup tomorrow night.

Some of Bolton's squad have also recently been victims of the virus but that has nothing to do with Ancelotti's desire to leave out goalkeeper Petr Cech, captain John Terry, defender Ricardo Carvalho, striker Nicolas Anelka and midfielders Michael Essien and Frank Lampard.

It means a reshuffled back four with Ashley Cole and Jose Bosingwa still unfit.

His much-changed team will allow Joe Cole another chance to show he is back to his best and with contract talks between the player and the club ongoing, Ancelotti hopes the England midfielder will soon put pen-to-paper on a new deal.

"He was a surprise in that last game," added Ancelotti. "He played very well and it's difficult to return after eight months to play with such good intensity, good ideas and genius.

"He will play tomorrow. For us, it's very important because it's another player with quality who we can put in midfield, and that's good for us.

"He has experience and I'd seen him play a lot of times, and I like his style of play.

"I know that he will speak with the club and I hope that he will 'do' a new contract."

Although Ancelotti's side will be full of fringe players, he is confident of overcoming Bolton and going on to reach the final.

"It's important because we want to be there in that final," said Ancelotti. "It's the first title in the season. We will change the team, but we will still put on the pitch a very competitive team.

"It's a moment for Daniel Sturridge to play and I hope he does the best on the pitch. We have trust in his quality, have trust in him.

"He didn't have the possibility in the last few months to play, but tomorrow I would like to see him at his best.

"I have a lot of players and I have a lot of players who haven't played a lot in the last few games, like Paulo Ferreira, Cole, Sturridge, Juliano Belletti, and Alex, and I want to use these players to improve their condition.

"For this game, I have only Fabio Borini and Jeffrey Bruma on the bench, and also Nemanja Matic. This is not a competition just for young players. It's also for fringe players."