Ancelotti backs third-choice Turnbull to frustrate Inter

LONDON, March 14, 2010 (AFP) - Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti has given third choice goalkeeper Ross Turnbull his backing ahead of Tuesday's Champions League crunch clash with Jose Mourinho's Inter Milan.

Injuries to Petr Cech and Hilario meant Turnbull was drafted in for his first Premier league start since his switch from Middlesbrough last year in Chelsea's 4-1 home victory over West Ham on Saturday.

The win kept Chelsea's Premier League title challenge on course and was achieved on the back of a double from Didier Drogba and goals from Alex and Florent Malouda, while Scott Parker replied for West Ham.

Chelsea players celebrate after Didier Drogba's second goal during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and West Ham United on March 13, 2010. AFP PHOTO

Turnbull had little to do during the game and, with Cech still struggling with a calf injury and Hilario ruled out with a groin problem, the English keeper is now set to retain his play for former Chelsea boss Mourinho's return to Stamford Bridge this week.

Ancelotti said: "I don't think that Petr Cech will be able to play on Tuesday but we can play with a good goalkeeper.

"He was not involved a lot of time in the game but he did a good save in the last minute of the match. He caught the ball outside the six-yard box and in the box, he played with confidence and he played a good game.

"There's no worry. He deserves to play this game because he trained very well in the last month, every day to improve his quality, we have confidence in him. I think he will play on Tuesday."

Ancelotti is satisfied his side has recovered from the dip in form that saw them fall to successive defeats, first against Inter in the first leg of the Champions League last 16 tie in the San Siro and then at home against Manchester City.

He was anxious to point out after the West Ham game, however, that the Inter tie remains in the balance.

He said: "I don't think this sends out a message. The game is in the balance and we want to win. Inter want to win. To win we have to do our best."

West Ham manager Gianfranco Zola, a former Chelsea striker, believes his old club has the edge in the return meeting with Inter.

Zola said: "I think they have an advantage on Inter. They need to score only one goal, but it's going to be tough because they are playing against a very good side and against a manager who knows Chelsea very well. I'm sure he will be preparing counter measures.

"So it's a very close match but I would give it slightly to Chelsea."

Zola's side remain in deep trouble in the Premier League but the manager defended his decision to field Mido as a lone striker at Stamford Bridge and relegate England forward Carlton Cole to the bench.

"I played Mido because Carlton Cole has been struggling and has trained only twice this week. And Mido has trained well.

"We are all part of this group. There is nothing wrong if someone else plays. Carlton has knee problems and after certain games takes more rest.

"It's not a big deal, not a big issue. I just thought it was chance to give him a rest and give someone else a chance. In other circumstances maybe I would have played him anyway."

Source: AFP

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