No fatigue fears for AVB
Andre Villas-Boas does not believe Chelsea will pay the price for playing for two gruelling hours with 10 men in the past week.
Last Updated: 25/09/11 2:56pm
Andre Villas-Boas does not believe Chelsea will pay the price for playing for two gruelling hours with 10 men in the past week when they visit Valencia in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday night.
The Blues will travel to Spain in midweek having spent 124 of their last 210 minutes on the field with a man disadvantage, hardly ideal preparation for what is expected to be the toughest of their Group E assignments.
Alex was dismissed in Wednesday's Carling Cup penalty shoot-out win over Fulham, while Fernando Torres received his marching orders for a wild tackle on Mark Gower in Saturday's Premier League victory over Swansea.
Villas-Boas has nevertheless insisted there is no danger of his side being jaded ahead of the clash with Valencia as the season is still in its infancy.
"It should be okay and nothing to worry about," said the manager. "It's also early beginnings in the league."
Villas-Boas still plans to rotate his squad to keep his players fresh and Torres' red card therefore makes him more likely to start on Wednesday as he only played 39 minutes on Saturday, was not involved at all against Fulham, and is now banned for the next three Premier League games.
So Didier Drogba's return from a sickening head injury could hardly be more timely, the forward coming off the bench against Swansea to net Chelsea's fourth goal and his first of the season.
Villas-Boas said: "We have four wonderful strikers and all of them have been performing very, very well - Lukaku, Nico, Didier and Fernando.
"All of them compete for a place in this 4-3-3 that we privilege."
He added of Torres' ban: "It will mean opportunities for the other three to challenge for that position."
Drogba claimed last week he was lucky to be alive after being knocked out in Chelsea's win over Norwich four weeks ago.
But he immediately put his head where it hurt in an aerial challenge with Ashley Williams, who went on to net Swansea's consolation after a Ramires brace.
Villas-Boas said: "After missing so many days through concussion, maybe a different player wouldn't challenge for that ball straight away with that commitment and that drive.
"This represents Didier as a person and as a player."