Drogba will be missed

Carlo Ancelotti is confident Premier League leaders Chelsea can cope with Didier Drogba’s absence during the African Cup of Nations.

Drogba marked his final appearance for the Blues before linking up with the Ivory Coast


by scoring the equaliser in Monday’s 2-1 home win over Fulham.

The striker has netted 19 goals for the Blues this season and, with compatriot Salomon Kalou also heading off for the tournament in Angola, Ancelotti has been left with just Nicolas Anelka as a senior front man.

Anelka is currently recovering from a minor injury, but Ancelotti is happy to put his faith in rookie forwards Daniel Sturridge and Fabio Borini.

Ancelotti has ruled out any forays into the transfer market and believes Chelsea’s performances in the UEFA Champions League have shown they can win games without Drogba.

“He has scored 19 goals, but without Didier this year we did very well; we won in the Champions League without him and we can do the same in the Premiership,” said the Chelsea boss.

“I think in some matches we can change the system, we can use the wing in some matches if there is not space in midfield sometimes.

“Sturridge can play, it depends on the matches.”

Chelsea’s win over Fulham was just a second in eight matches during December and Ancelotti was happy to end the month on a positive note.

He added: “With this victory and performance, we finished a difficult moment.

“It was not a good December for us, but it is finished and we look forward to January where we can do better, but we are doing well.”

Ancelotti also confirmed he did not meet up with former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho, who watched the match ahead of Inter Milan’s UEFA Champions League tie with his old club.