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Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti defends cup team selection

Chelsea's players after their defeat at Blackburn
Chelsea fought all the way but fell short in the shoot-out

Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti insisted he made the right decision to rest key players after their defeat on penalties at Blackburn in the Carling Cup.

Ancelotti selected a young side and the match finished 3-3 after extra-time before 18-year-old Gael Kakuta missed his spot kick in the quarter-final tie.

"This is good for our season," said Ancelotti, whose side head the league. "I wanted to see our young players.

"I think they did a good job. It was a good opportunity to gain experience."

Only Joe Cole, Salomon Kalou and Jon Obi Mikel remained from the team that defeated Arsenal on Sunday.

Ancelotti disappointed with defeat

Chelsea trailed 1-0 at the break after a disappointing first-half performance, prompting Ancelotti to make a triple substitution at the restart with Kakuta, Jeffrey Bruma and Didier Drogba coming on.

Ancelotti's decision was almost immediately vindicated when Drogba equalised with his first touch, though Chelsea had to play the remainder of the game with 10 men after Kalou limped off with 20 minutes of normal time left.

"We are disappointed but I think that we did a very good job with 10 versus 11 - we played with spirit, with heart," added Ancelotti.

"I took a risk with three players coming on at half-time. It was a new line-up for us and sometimes it doesn't work, but in second half it was better.

"It was impossible for Kalou to come back on - he was injured. We need to assess him on Thursday but we hope he will recover quickly."

606: DEBATE
Chelsea Fan

Rovers boss Sam Allardyce has almost recovered following heart surgery and the match against Chelsea was Neil McDonald's last in temporary charge.

"It will be good to have Sam back - he's such an influence here," said McDonald.

"I'm delighted to beat Chelsea and we deserved it, but Sam is the manager."

It looked as though the home team would seal victory in extra-time after Benni McCarthy had scored a penalty to make it 3-2, but Paulo Ferreira struck deep into injury-time to take the match to penalties.

"It didn't deserve to got to penalties, we had the chances to win it before then," added McDonald.

Being in semi-finals is huge - Robinson

"But Paul Robinson has made two fantastic saves in the shoot-out and we're through, it's great. We have come on strong and deserved to come through.

"When they levelled for 3-3 you wonder if it's not going to be your day but the players dusted themselves off and came back to win it in the shoot-out."

Rovers will now meet Aston Villa in the two-legged semi-final.

Highlights of Blackburn v Chelsea will appear on the BBC Sport website from 2200 GMT on Thursday (UK users only).



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Carling Cup results

2 Dec 2009 23:59 UK


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Tuesday 1 December

see also
Manchester rivals to meet in cup
02 Dec 09 |  Football
Wednesday's football photos
02 Dec 09 |  Football
Wednesday football as it happened
02 Dec 09 |  Football
Chelsea chief defends Kakuta deal
08 Sep 09 |  Chelsea


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