Chelsea defender Ricardo Carvalho is itching to return to action at Manchester City this weekend.

The 31-year-old Portugal international was rested for Wednesday's Carling Cup quarter-final defeat at Blackburn. Carvalho is being managed carefully after hamstring problems limited him to just 18 appearances last season but he is keen to get back on the field for the Barclays Premier League leaders.

"I am doing good. After last year I have been working hard and I am feeling fit," Carvalho told the club's website, www.chelseafc.com.

"I'm happy to be helping the team again, which is important. Sometimes when we had too many games they wanted to rest me, but I want to play every game.

"That's when I am happy but I understand that they want to monitor it and manage it. I am feeling okay though, physically I am strong and not worried. Last year I was not fit and in that time I had some problems but when I feel fit like now there are no worries."

Chelsea will hope to quickly put their Carling Cup exit behind them and get back to the form that has seen them installed as Premier League title favourites. The Stamford Bridge club have been beaten twice this term but have now won five in succession - a run that includes victories over championship rivals Manchester United and Arsenal.

Carvalho feels the team are now playing better under Carlo Ancelotti than they were when Jose Mourinho guided them to their first league crown for 50 years in 2004-05.

The former Porto man, signed by Mourinho in 2004, said: "In this moment we are an improvement even from that first year here under Mourinho.

"Of course then we were compact and everyone was fighting, but now I think we have more quality in the squad maybe. Or at least different players, playing in a different system and style.

"Everyone is helping each other and fighting, and even when we don't play well, which we are, everyone is working hard for each other to get the points."

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