Carlo Ancelotti will put his faith in Chelsea's next generation against MSK Zilina on Tuesday night as the Blues look to arrest their recent slump.
Ancelotti will rest some of his senior stars for their Champions League clash against the Group F whipping boys in the hope they will earn the point that will guarantee them top spot. Josh McEachran will make his first start for the London club, with Jeffrey Bruma taking the place of Brazilian defender Alex, who requires knee surgery.
The Italian said: "Alex, I want to protect. We've postponed the surgery because his reaction was very good after the weekend. He didn't have a problem after the match at Birmingham. He won't be involved. We want to protect him. Midfielder Michael Essien is not able to play because he's injured. He has a swollen toe."
He added: "Bruma will play from the beginning, and also McEachran. Bruma at centre-back and McEachran as a holding midfielder. It is the time for McEachran to play. He's shown a good attitude and personality. It's a good moment for him. It's the time for him to have his chance."
Ancelotti goes into the game after firmly eradicating any remaining notion that he was on the brink of quitting his post over the weekend.
The former AC Milan boss was rumoured to have spoken to the League Managers Association on Sunday night and consulted them about his position within the Stamford Bridge hierarchy.
But despite Chelsea crashing to their third defeat in four games with a 1-0 reverse at Birmingham on Saturday, Ancelotti insists he is going nowhere.
"I don't know if it's enough to clarify my position to close these rumours and speculation," said Ancelotti.
"These rumours are totally untrue. I don't know why they came out. I didn't speak with the LMA. They called me (on Sunday night) when I was at home, quiet, to find out what was happening.
"These rumours are totally untrue. I have my contract until 2012, here, in this club. I've said a lot of times that I'd like to stay here. I love not just this club, but these players. I have a lot of confidence in these players, in this squad, so there's no reason to change my ideas. "
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