The Chelsea manager, Carlo Ancelotti, has admitted that long-term injuries to his captain, John Terry, and the Brazilian defender Alex may force him to strengthen his squad in the January transfer window.
Terry and Alex both missed the 3-0 home defeat by Sunderland last Sunday. Alex has postponed knee surgery to make himself available for tomorrow’s visit to Birmingham, which Terry will miss despite travelling to Italy in midweek to see a specialist recommended by Ancelotti about a nerve problem in his right leg.
When asked if he would move into the transfer market if both players were sidelined for a long period, Ancelotti replied: “It depends what happens with Alex and in the next few days with John Terry. Obviously, if both players are not able to play for a long time, I think we have to think about this. But just in that case.
“There’s a muscle on John’s leg, the piriformis muscle, and the nerve moves, so he feels pain. We have to work on this problem. It’s not true that he’ll be out for a month. He went to Italy because I recommended him to go. He was the best doctor for the back and I worked with him for years.
“It depends day-by-day with John. He has pain. He will not be involved tomorrow but, maybe, he’ll be able to play in the next game. We’re not satisfied, but we hope we’ll be able to put John in the condition to play.
“I don’t remember how many times I was 100% fit when I played. You often have problems. Tomorrow Alex will be available, which is good news. He trained well for the Brazilian team. We know he needs surgery, but we can procrastinate for this. There’s no risk, but his knee needs to be clean.
“It will be good to have him back. We didn’t play well last week, played a poor game. It was the first time in my period here, so we need to move on immediately and have a reaction.
“The reaction will not be because we have got Alex back. We’ll have a reaction if everyone works for the team, works hard and shows a good mental attitude and fighting spirit. Our aim is to play well, better than we did against Sunderland. We want to forget Sunderland with a fantastic performance. If we play well, we can win and maintain our position at the top of the table.”
Ancelotti will also have his new assistant first-team coach, Michael Emenalo, alongside him against Blues. He was appointed as a replacement for Ray Wilkins, who was released last week, but Ancelotti maintains his role will not differ too much from his current one. The Italian also insists he is happy with the club’s appointment. “Nothing has changed, for me,” he said. “Emenalo has been working with me before.
“He started when I came here last year. He was the opposition scout and was supporting with me. He’s not been involved in the training, and won’t be, because Paul Clement has been and will remain doing that. It was not my decision, but he will continue to work with me. I’m not here to explain how I feel at this moment. I’m professional. I will continue to work.
“I want to stay focused on my team. Emenalo was a fantastic support last season for the opposition scouting. He was involved in our meetings and will be again in the future. He will support us as the head of opposition scout. He will stay close with me in the tactical situations. It was the same work that he did for the last 18 months.”