Ballack - No untouchables

Michael Ballack believes the status of being 'untouchable' no longer exists at Chelsea.

Former Blues manager Jose Mourinho publicly admitted that he had nine players who were all-but guaranteed to make his starting XI.

The full list of Mourinho's 'untouchables' was made up of: Michael Essien, Claude Makelele, Frank Lampard, John Terry, Ricardo Carvalho, Ashley Cole, Didier Drogba, Ballack and Petr Cech.

However, Ballack believes the days of any player being assured of a starting place have gone under Mourinho's successor, Avram Grant.


The Germany international's comments follow Grant's decision to leave Lampard and Terry on the substitutes' bench for Tuesday's 0-0 UEFA Champions League draw with Olympiakos.

And Ballack is fully behind the Israeli's ethos, insisting that he was right to rest the duo following their recent injuries.

"John and Frank have been injured for a long time and it was a big game against Olympiakos so it was a decision from the coach." he said in The Sun.

"I'm not sure if anyone is untouchable now. I think they are both still very, very important players for us but you have to be careful after injuries.

"I know this myself, having had eight months out. It's not an easy time when you come back - you can't play every game straight away.

"The coach has a lot of experience. He knows what he's doing."


Meanwhile, Drogba - who returned for Chelsea on Tuesday after his time at the Africa Cup of Nations with Ivory Coast - admits Grant faces a tough task in managing such a large squad of high-profile names.