CHELSEA 2 vs FC COPENHAGEN 0
CHELSEA manager Carlo Ancelotti insists he is not interested in the debate over John Terry being reinstated as England captain, but admits the move would hand his player a lift.
England head coach Fabio Capello looks set to hand Terry the armband for this month’s Euro 2012 qualifier against Wales, a year after stripping him of the honour due to his off-field behaviour.
The suggestion has provoked controversy, not least because the current incumbent, Manchester United’s Rio Ferdinand is said to be dismayed at the apparent demotion, but Ancelotti refused to be drawn on whether Terry (inset) was a reformed character.
“I’m not interested in this,” he said. “I’m just interested in seeing him train well and play fantastic football at this moment. That’s all.”
Ancelotti, who is looking to guide his team past FC Copenhagen and into the Champions League last 16 tonight, conceded Capello’s move would please Blues skipper Terry.
He added: “Obviously, this is the decision of the national team and he will be happy about this.”
Chelsea appear to have put their woeful winter behind them and are back in the Premier League title race, albeit as outsiders, so Ancelotti is likely to rest some stars this evening with a visit from top four rivals Manchester City looming on Sunday. “I want to use rotation because we have all the players fit,” he said. “I want to use all the players to prepare for these two games with Copenhagen and Manchester City. My best team is not just 11 players.”
Brazilian defender Alex, who has been sidelined since November, returned to training this week, while Israeli midfielder Yossi Benayoun, out since September, is set to follow suit later this week.
CHELSEA go into this second leg as massive favourites to progress to the quarter-finals, with two away goals under their belts and a superb record of just one defeat in their last 24 Champions League matches at Stamford Bridge. They have also rediscovered the winning habit, with three victories in a row and five unbeaten in all competitions. In fact their improvement stretches back even further: they have won seven and drawn three of their last 11 games, the sole aberration being the 1-0 Premier League defeat at home to Liverpool on 6 February.
That marked improvement followed a disastrous 13-match spell in which they lost six times and won just three times. And it is no coincidence that midfielder Frank Lampard (right) was absent during the slump. Since his latest return from injury, on 29 January, he has re-emerged as a goalscoring force, hitting the net five times in his last eight appearances. Indeed he has eight in his last 12 and has helped Chelsea to be a far more effective attacking proposition when he has played. When he has started this season the Blues have scored an average of 2.4 goals per game; without him they have managed just 1.7.