Zhirkov out of Chelsea opener

COBHAM - New Chelsea signing Yuri Zhirkov will miss the opening game of the Premier League season at home to Hull on Saturday after failing to recover from a knee injury in time to make Carlo Ancelotti's first squad.

But the new Italian manager, who said the 18 million pound 25-year-old Russian midfielder should be fit in a week, will be sure to use him in the London side's high profile multi-national team after indicating he was keen to rotate his squad.

"There is Alex, Zhirkov, (Juliano) Belletti, (Paulo) Ferriera and Joe Cole injured, but all are recovering now," Ancelotti told reporters in halting English after a final session at the club's training ground south west of London.

Apparently following in the footsteps of compatriot and former Chelesa manager Claudio Ranieri, nicknamed Tinkerman for his constant team changes, Ancelotti said he would use all his players.

"I think that it is impossible to say who the best 11 players in this team are. There are more than 11 and I want to use them for the season," the 50-year-old former AC Milan player and coach said on Friday.

"I don't want to put the same 11 players in the team. I want to change."

Ranieri was sacked from Chelsea in 2004, a season after Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich bought the club. He was dumped by Juventus last season.

Ancelotti, who took over from interim coach Guus Hiddink, looked relaxed after winning the Community Shield charity game against champions Manchester United on penalties last weekend.

"I want to do well with my team but I'm happy, not afraid, no tension, no pressure. I have a good feeling with the atmosphere with this club," he said, adding Chelsea had more than two rivals for the title in England, a tougher challenge than at home.

"It's very competitive," he said citing the obvious dangers of Manchester United, runners up Liverpool and Arsenal who came fourth behind Chelsea. "I want to see Manchester City. I am curious and I want to see Aston Villa because last year they had a very good season."

Chelsea, FA Cup winners and unbeaten during a pre-season tour of the U.S., have secured striker Didier Drogba for another three years but missed out on several targets and have said they do not plan to buy any more players despite fevered speculation.

"I am happy with my squad, with the playing quality and the human quality," he said, adding the side had not reached its peak.

"We have to work to improve because the situation on the pitch has to be natural. Things are new for the players but with work it will be automatic. The last game had some periods that were very good and other periods not so good so we have to add continuity."