Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho insists he has no plans to sell midfielder Ramires in January, saying that the Blues need him for their title push.
Ramires has been something of a peripheral figure at Stamford Bridge this season and has started just three Premier League games. Mourinho has tended to opt against rotation and stick with a tried and tested XI, which has taken them to the top of the table although they lost their last league outing against Tottenham.
With the former Benfica ace out on the cold there has been some speculation that he could be on his way to Real Madrid in a deal worth around £25 million. However Mourinho has moved to deny the speculation and says Ramires will have a role in the first team going into the second half of the season.
The 27-year-old has been struggling with a thigh injury for much of the season which he has now shaken off as the games continue to come thick and fast.
"I am pleased that Ramires is back," Mourinho told reporters. "He needs to play without pain, which he did for the first time for a long, long time against Watford.
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"Now it's a question of having his qualities again and getting back to his normal level. To not feel pain in months and months, especially in a crucial area for a player to feel good, is significant. We need Ramires."
Another Chelsea player who has been the subject of speculation is Kurt Zouma. The defender arrived at Stamford Bridge with a big reputation and a £12.5 million transfer fee from Saint-Etienne in the summer.
However he has been unable to dislodge either John Terry or Gary Cahill so far and reports had suggested he could be shipped out on loan for the remainder of the campaign. However Mourinho says he has been impressed with what he has seen so far from the talented youngster and promised him more game time.
"Kurt has had a fantastic performance again and again and again. Every time Zouma plays, he plays so well.
"He made mistakes in pre-season against Werder Bremen and in Hungary (against Ferencvaros) - he made positional mistakes. He was focussing a lot on the man, not on the space and other players or on the zonal game. But he has learnt so much and so well, plus his physical condition is something amazing."