LONDON: Chelsea coach Claudio Ranieri, still worried by the fitness level of Juan Sebastian Veron, gives the Argentine midfielder a run-out against Notts County in the English League Cup today.
Veron was a notable absentee from Chelseas squad against Manchester City last weekend.
He had an effective game in Chelseas Champions League victory over Lazio last week but Ranieri believed he was not fit enough to play two big games in three days.
The former Manchester United player will be back in the fray against the struggling Second Division side today.
I will make changes but I usually do that anyway, said Ranieri. I will check on my players because it has been a busy time. If some of them are tired, I will give them a rest.
Veron will play though. He was OK after the Lazio match but I said to him that he should restart his fitness.
Ranieri, with the weekend Premier League match at Everton followed by next weeks Champions League trip to Lazio, will check on the fitness of Hernan Crespo before deciding whether he will feature today.
But fullback Glen Johnson, who was also omitted on Saturday, should return together with Damien Duff, who was a second-half substitute.
One Chelsea player who will be hoping to keep his place in Ranieris team is Joe Cole, who started his first home league match of the season.
It would be nice if Im playing again on Wednesday but well see what kind of team is picked, said Cole.
I knew what the situation was when I came here. I still have belief in my ability and I know that, if I keep doing well the opportunities come, and Ill eventually establish myself.
The League Cup is probably bottom of Chelseas priority list but Ranieri expects no easing up from his players.
Everything is a priority, he said. I want us to play football in every competition. That is my philosophy and I want my players to believe in that.
I was loud from the touchline against Manchester City, just like Pavarotti, because I wanted to stimulate my players. I thought they needed my support against a very good City team.
Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink scored the only goal of the match after David Seaman had diverted an Adrian Mutu cross into his path.
We did not play as well as we did against Lazio but it is not easy to recharge your batteries in such a short time, Ranieri said. AFP