Carlo Ancelotti has revealed that one of the consequences of the club's transfer-window purchase of defender David Luiz for £25m is that captain John Terry is no longer guaranteed a first-team start every week.
For the past decade Terry has been the cornerstone of the Chelsea team, for 487 games and three Premier League titles. But the burden of leadership has left its mark on Terry, who has struggled all season with a thigh muscle injury that kept the defender out for a month at the end of last year.
Last month saw the arrival of the highly rated Luiz from Benfica, who is ineligible for the Champions League having already represented the Portuguese club in the group stages. The Brazilian with the curly hairstyle will make his first start for Chelsea in tonight's derby with Fulham alongside Terry at the back. But Ancelotti said the new competition for places will mean greater rotation in defence, and that includes his inspirational captain, one of the men former manager Jose Mourinho once described as 'untouchable'.
Ancelotti said: "With Luiz we can have more rotation with our players and maintain more fresh defenders. Now we have lot of opportunities to choose players and give someone else a rest and to maintain every defender's fitness for the rest of the season.
"When a good player with a lot of skills comes to improve the squad, everyone is happy. Obviously everyone knows that in the top teams there is competition to play. This is normal. It's a good motivation for everyone."
The arrival of Luiz was followed on Thursday by the news that Branislav Ivanovic had signed a massive five-and-a-half year contract extension. Ancelotti said Ivanovic and Luiz, along with 28-year-old Alex da Costa, represent the future of the club.
"We are very happy because Ivanovic has signed a new contract. And with Davd Luiz and Alex we will not have a problem in the centre of defence in the future," Ancelotti said. "Ivanovic is important because he can play centre-back or right-back without a problem. He can recover very well from matches and he has played more than any other player this season."
The defence may be sorted to Ancelotti's satisfaction but the attack is still proving to be a headache, not least how to squeeze Torres into the team. The front three triangle formation did not work against Liverpool last weekend and Ancelotti said the versatility of Nicolas Anelka is crucial to his plans.
"In attack we can choose whether to play with two up front or with the Christmas tree," Ancelotti said. "When we play with two strikers Anelka can be in the No 10 position, in the hole, but with one striker he can play on the right.
"Florent Malouda can also play there, and last year we tried Frank Lampard, which was not bad. Malouda can also play in the Christmas tree, but I don't need to think of him as a central midfielder because we have a lot of options."