Malouda - We can cope
Florent Malouda says Chelsea can cope with the exodus of players when the African Cup of Nations begins.
By James Riach
Last Updated: 19/12/09 12:15pm
Florent Malouda says Chelsea can cope with the exodus of players that will come when the African Cup of Nations begins.
The Blues will lose four key players when the tournament starts in January - Didier Drogba, Michael Essien, John Obi Mikel and Salomon Kalou - and the Stamford Bridge outfit will have to rely on other players to fill the void.
But Frenchman Malouda is unconcerned by those predicting Chelsea's demise when the African players leave, and thinks they have the squad to push on in the New Year.
"In January there will be more responsibility on those of us still here," he told the Daily Express. "We know that and we are ready.
"Last year, at the beginning of the season, there was a time when Didier (Drogba) and Michael Ballack were both injured and everybody saw the quality of our squad.
"Last year, Nicolas Anelka finished as the top scorer in the Premier League and he is ready for that again.
"People behind us in the league right now have to be worried about us in that period.
"They have to be more worried than we do. Everybody is talking about how we will struggle - but they will be surprised.
"It's going to be a time for all the players in the squad to demonstrate their quality. And they will do that.
"The manager (Carlo Ancelotti) has been changing players to keep us all fresh and has been giving some of the youngsters a chance.
"He has been doing that because he has been thinking about January. Now it will mean those young players will be ready. They know they will be needed."
Malouda has made seven Premier League starts so far this season and has scored four goals in all competitions.
Although he has had to settle for a place on the bench in certain games this term, the 29-year-old says he will be primed for the latter stages of the campaign.
"We will play 70 games this year if we go far," he added. "Now, it's not a problem to be on the bench occasionally, because we have to be physically fit in this system.
"We have a game which asks a lot of you physically.
"But at the end of the season when we have to win the trophies, I want to be in the squad for those games."