Ancelotti: Drogba close to best

BY foxsports • January 16, 2011

Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti felt Didier Drogba was "close to his best" despite another game without a goal in the 2-0 win over Blackburn.

Drogba has struggled to get back to his bulldozing best since a malaria scare earlier this season and was again unable to break his drought on Saturday.

Ancelotti, though, was happy with the striker's contribution.

He said: "Didier is very close to his best.

"He played a good game for the team.

"He didn't score but it doesn't matter. He played the second half for the team, he came back to help the midfielders.

"It was an unselfish match for him. This is important also if he doesn't score."

He added: "Didier is not the quickest player.

"He's a good player because he has power, he has strength, he has ability, he has skill.

"Last year, he scored 40 goals and maybe he didn't have as many opportunities as he did in this moment.

"This is the life of the striker. Sometimes, you shoot one time at the goal and you score. Sometimes you have to shoot 10 times to score."

Ancelotti insisted in the build-up to Saturday's game that Drogba and Michael Essien - who has also struggled to hit top form - were not undroppable.

And despite opting for their sheer "size" on Saturday, the Italian suggested they were not guaranteed to start at Bolton next Monday, with Daniel Sturridge and Josh McEachran waiting in the wings.

Ancelotti said of Drogba and Essien: "They are two of the most important players.

"But they are not two of the most important players because they play every game.

"Sometimes, they can stay out.

"Also, it's very important for us that McEachran is able to play, is ready to play.

"He has the quality to play from the beginning so could put more competition in the squad."

Saturday's win was another step in the right direction for Chelsea following last weekend's FA Cup thrashing of Ipswich.

It moved them back into the top four for at least 24 hours and kept alive their paper-thin hopes of retaining the title.

Ancelotti said: "We have to play better again but we have more confidence now.

"I'm sure that we will do better in the Premier League.

"It's not easy to close the gap but we have to think that we are able to do this.

"I don't know if it's possible.

"Because we won last year, we want to do everything to be in competition until the end."