Malouda: Blues can cope without absentees

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Florent Malouda insists Chelsea's squad has the quality to remain in the hunt for glory on three fronts while four of their key players are missing.

The France winger was on the scoresheet for Carlo Ancelotti's side in their 5-0 demolition of Watford in the third round of the FA Cup at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, a tie missed by Didier Drogba, Salomon Kalou, John Obi Mikel and Michael Essien who are all on African Nations Cup duty.

"The system we have is our strength and it doesn't matter the players who come in or go out," said Malouda.

"You could see we were confident against Watford. Everyone is fit and ready to help the club reach the targets - we want to win everything.

"Clubs can't win the title in December or January but it's better to be on top. We're looking to be top in May so it's important for our confidence that we are still top now. Our big squad is our big strength."

Concerns over the absence of 19-goal Ivory Coast striker Drogba were soothed by Daniel Sturridge against Watford.

He scored his first goals for the club since joining from Manchester City in the summer and while Chelsea's Barclays Premier League title rivals are hoping the loss of the key quartet will hurt them, Malouda is confident Sturridge can help them cope.

"Daniel has been wonderful in training," he added. "He was injured before and struggled but he has been working really hard.

"He deserved to score the goals. As you can see when he comes into the team, he's really confident. He's bringing something to the team and he's playing in a positive way. It's a good opportunity for him now to show his quality and he deserves it."

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Didier Drogba
Manchester City
Salomon Kalou
Florent Malouda
Premier League
Daniel Sturridge
Michael Essien

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