Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti insists he has faith in his younger players to perform in the absence of their African stars.
Didier Drogba, Michael Essien, John Obi Mikel and Salomon Kalou will all depart Stamford Bridge in January for the African Cup of Nations, leaving the opportunity for fringe players to fill in and prove themselves.
Daniel Sturridge has already spoken of his desire to perform well in Drogba's absence, while a number of other players will also be keen to impress Ancelotti.
The Italian tactician rejected claims that he is worried about the loss of certain key figures for the duration of the tournament in Angola, and is not concerned about the returning fitness of his African stars.
"I think that they have to play," he said. "They have to play a good competition.
"We are not worried about this because the players are used to playing a lot of games during the season.
"We are not worried. I think that they will return in good condition.
"We have African players and I think when they have to play for the national team it is no problem.
"It is like the European players. I think that this is not a problem. Every top player has to go in the national team.
"It is not a problem for the Africans because it is not a problem for the Europeans.
"I think that it will be a great opportunity for the (young) players to show their quality and I hope that they will do a very good job because I trust in these players.
"We have young players and we want to use those for January."
Ghana midfielder Michael Essien is to stay at Stamford Bridge for an extra week as he recovers from injury, while Nicolas Anelka is set to return for the FA Cup game against Watford at the weekend.
"He (Anelka) will be ready to return in the squad," Ancelotti added. "I think that tomorrow (Thursday) he will train with us.
"He is in good condition, he trained alone, he has recovered very well and will play in the next game."
Following the sacking of Bolton manager Gary Megson, Ancelotti remarked: "I think that it is a normal situation for a coach.
"It is the same in England as in Italy - in Italy a lot of coaches start the season and they don't finish the season. It is normal."