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Carlo Ancelotti hails Daniel Sturridge brace

Carlo Ancelotti
Carlo Ancelotti has heaped fulsome praise on young striker Dean Sturridge

Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti believes Daniel Sturridge can help to fill the void created by Didier Drogba being on Africa Cup of Nations duty.

Sturridge scored twice in Chelsea's 5-0 FA Cup win over Watford to clinch his first goals for the club since his summer move from Manchester City.

"He has a lot of potential and great quality and he can show that on the pitch in January," said Ancelotti.

"Without Drogba, it is important to have him in good condition."

Sturridge, who was ushered into service in the absence of both top scorer Drogba and the injured Nicolas Anelka, converted from close range either side of a John Eustace own goal and efforts from Florent Malouda and Frank Lampard.

I think that we can do a good January

Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti

The cost of the 20-year-old, who was City's young player of the year in 2009, will be decided by a forthcoming transfer tribunal, with the Eastlands club reportedly looking for a 'development fee' of about £10m.

It remains to be seen whether Chelsea will be obliged to meet that valuation but Ancelotti was in no doubt about the value of the forward's contribution against Watford.

"He scored two goals and that's important for a striker," added Ancelotti, whose side are two points clear of Manchester United at the top of the Premier League table.

"He played very well for the whole match and this performance will improve his confidence but he deserved that. He played very well for the whole match.

"I think that we can do a good January. I had good answers about other players. Juliano Belletti played very well in central midfield and I think we can do good performances without the other African players."

Having talked up Chelsea's short-term prospects, Ancelotti played down the furore over an interview Malouda gave to French newspaper L'Equipe.

Malouda expressed frustration at Ancelotti's failure to give him more playing time but the Italian insisted that the matter was already closed.


"I spoke with Malouda before the game against Birmingham and explained my position to him," he stated.

"He explained his position. For me, that was finished then and there. After that, he spoke in the French press but there's no problem.

"It's normal that a player wants to play every game and, above all, the important games. For us, for me, Malouda is an important player."

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see also
Chelsea 5-0 Watford
03 Jan 10 |  FA Cup
Chelsea sign Man City's Sturridge
03 Jul 09 |  Chelsea
Sunday's FA Cup photos
03 Jan 10 |  Football

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