Chelsea hit by double injury blow

Chelsea have suffered a double injury blow with Ricardo Carvalho ruled out for a month after damaging medial knee ligaments while his fellow Portuguese international Deco will be missing for the next two weeks after suffering a muscle tear in his thigh.

The confirmation of both injuries, following the far more serious six-month lay-off suffered by Michael Essien, after he ruptured a cruciate knee ligament, will stretch the resources of the manager, Luiz Felipe Scolari. Chelsea have four matches in the next fortnight and will be tested, especially as Michael Ballack is only just returning to fitness.

Both Portuguese players are vital to Scolari's plans with Deco, in particular, sorely missed after he suffered his injury in the warm-up before Sunday's Premier League fixture against Manchester United. The injury clearly set Chelsea back while Carvalho then limped off early in the first half.

The 30-year-old central defender will be absent for tomorrow night's Carling Cup tie away to Portsmouth, the league match at Stoke City, the Champions League tie away to Romanian side CFR Cluj and the home league fixture against Aston Villa. There is then an international break, which is bad news for Portugal, who have two World Cup qualification games, but will be a relief for Chelsea, who will hope to have the defender, as well as Deco, back for the game away to Middlesbrough on 18 October and certainly in time for the Champions League tie at home to Roma the following Tuesday.

Scolari seemed deeply concerned about the injuries following Sunday's match and his worries have now been confirmed. He is bringing in the 33-year-old Brazilian Mineiro, out of contract at Hertha Berlin, as midfield cover but he will be mightily relieved that John Terry's red card against Manchester City last week was overturned so he is available.

United, meanwhile, will face no further punishment from the Football Association beyond a £25,000 fine – automatically triggered when a team collect six yellow cards – following the flurry of seven bookings handed out to them at Stamford Bridge. The club will also receive a letter asking them to be aware of their duties to keep their players in check, but there was nothing in the referee Mike Riley's report that would warrant further sanctions.

The hard-fought draw steadied United's season and, although John Obi Mikel claimed yesterday that Chelsea should have won, it appeared a fair result. "We played much better than them," the Nigerian midfielder said. "The first 10 minutes was a bit difficult but after that we calmed down and started passing the ball. I think from then until the end of the game we played much better than them. It's so disappointing that we had a few chances and didn't put them away. We should have got the three points."

United, having taken the lead, will feel the same, although Wayne Rooney was able to draw comfort from the fact that the team has had three tricky away matches in succession. "As soon as we saw the fixture list we knew it was going to be a tough start," the 22-year-old striker said of the sequence away to Portsmouth, Liverpool and Chelsea. "We have just had three hard games, possibly our toughest of all. Now, hopefully, we can go on a run."

For United there was also the added bonus of Cristiano Ronaldo again edging towards full fitness. "It is a great boost for everyone to have Cristiano back," Rooney said. "He adds a different dimension to our play. Everyone knows what a great player he is. Once he is fully fit he will soon start producing his best form again."

Quite how many of Sir Alex Ferguson's first-team squad will be in action against Middlesbrough tonight remains to be seen. In sanctioning the Carling Cup tie just 48 hours after a trip to London, the United manager appeared to be sending out a clear signal that he intends to hand opportunities to players such as the Angolan striker Manucho, who is set to make his debut, and Daniel Welbeck, as well as three young Brazilians, Rodrigo Possebon and the Da Silva brothers Rodrigo and Federico.

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
tvSeries celebrates 20th anniversary
Sport
Twelve of the winning bidders will each host three group matches
football
Life and Style
Jack Cooksey goes for the grand unveiling - moments before dropping his new iPhone 6 on the floor
iphone launch
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style
life

News
ScienceGallery: Otherwise known as 'the best damn photos of space you'll see till 2015'
Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week