Drogba: I can get better and better

The 31-year-old was exceptional again in Chelsea’s 4-1 demolition

of Championship side Cardiff in the FA Cup fifth round at Stamford

Bridge on Saturday. Drogba put the Blues in front with his 23rd

goal of the season and laid on the second for Germany captain

Michael Ballack as the holders reached the quarter-finals. The

Blues were given a scare when Michael Chopra cancelled out Drogba’s

opener before the interval, but Chelsea’s class told with

second-half goals from Ballack, Daniel Sturridge and substitute

Salomon Kalou. Drogba is currently in the hunt for the ‘Golden

Boot’ with Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney but, even if he beats

his adversary, the striker is already thinking about doing even

better next term. “No matter what I do this season, next year when

I return my objective will be to do better than that,” declared

Drogba. “If people say: ‘He has had a fantastic season’, I will try

to do better because that’s the way I am.” Chelsea’s dressing room

spirit has been tested on and off the pitch in recent days, by

tabloid talk about the private lives of captain John Terry and

left-back Ashley Cole and defeat at Everton last Wednesday night,

where Cole suffered a broken ankle. Terry missed the win over

Cardiff because he was in Dubai with wife Toni following his

alleged affair with Vanessa Perroncel – the ex-girlfriend of

ex-Chelsea team-mate Wayne Bridge. The defender was stripped of the

England captaincy by national coach Fabio Capello in the wake of

the allegations of infidelity and was at fault for both of

Everton’s goals in the 2-1 loss, apologising to fans on Saturday

for his double gaff. While Terry remains Chelsea captain with the

full support of manager Carlo Ancelotti, Drogba believes the Blues

have strength in numbers and leaders across the field. He also

believes the indomitable spirit of his team-mates is the envy of

rival teams and inspires individuals to perform. “We have a lot of

strong characters here which is good because we challenge

ourselves,” said Drogba. “Because we are all leaders, we always

have to be the best – it is not easy but I think we are doing quite

well. “Personally, when I am talking about experience in the squad,

I’m talking also about the confidence my mates give me. “The

togetherness of the team is amazing. No matter what happens we

stick together and that’s the real strength of Chelsea and I think

a lot of teams want that. “When you get closer to the end of the

competitions, you start to get more excited, that’s how it is.

“Each season is different and I don’t know what to expect but the

one thing I can say is that I will try to be there when the team

will need me.” Drogba’s goal against Cardiff was his fourth in as

many games since his return from a disappointing African Nations

Cup campaign in Angola in January, where the Ivory Coast –

featuring Kalou and Drogba – were knocked out in the

quarter-finals. Drogba, however, insists there is more to come. “We

didn’t expect to come back so early from the tournament,” he added.

“I am still not back from it properly.”