Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti has led the chorus of praise for Didier Drogba after the Ivorian showed up Fernando Torres again on Saturday.
Drogba scored the opener and had a hand in both of Chelsea’s other goals as the reigning Premier League champions overran West Bromwich Albion 3-1 with Torres warming the bench.
It was a powerful statement from the Ivory Coast international, who was left on the pine in favour of Chelsea’s struggling 50-million-pound signing in the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final tie against Manchester United.
Ancelotti, who admitted he erred in starting Torres after that match, praised Drogba and said pundits forecasting the Ivorian’s exit from Stamford Bridge were getting ahead of themselves.
“As we know Didier had a problem with malaria and lost a few months when he was not 100 per cent,” Ancelotti said.
“But when he is, every time he is able to use his abilities, his power for the team, and he has a body that can continue for a long time.”
“He has to continue to train well, be professional, because for a player who is 33-years-old, it is important he trains, to have good control of his body, and do everything to maintain his fitness.”
“They (the club) bought Torres because he is a fantastic striker, young, but this doesn’t mean Didier has to go.”
“He has been a very important player for the club in the past, and he will be for the club in the future.”
West Brom manager Roy Hodgson rued a patchy first-half performance that allowed Chelsea to build a two-goal lead despite trailing the Baggies on Peter Odemwingie’s early strike.
The Baggies remain on 39 points – six clear of the relegation places – for the time being, and Hodgson conceded the hard work to beat the drop is not done with yet.
“I didn’t think that we played very well in the first half, I think that we were not as tight as we’d been defensively,” Hodgson told Sky Sports.
“I think that we gave away rather cheap goals as well. That meant at half-time we were staring down the barrel of a gun.”
“We do know that West Ham once got relegated on 42 points so as far as we’re concerned we’ll be trying to do our best in each of the games and if we get to 42 points before the end of the season, we’ll be trying to get to 43 and above.”
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