Carlo Ancelotti will turn to Didier Drogba tomorrow as the Blues seek to overcome Everton at the second time of asking in the FA Cup 4th Round replay at Stamford Bridge.
The Ivorian was dropped to the bench for Monday nights dour 0-0 draw at local rivals Fulham, with Ancelotti preferring to use new signing Fernando Torres as the focal point of the Blues attack. However, with Torres cup-tied after featuring for former club Liverpool earlier in the season, the manager has called upon Drogba to return to the starting line up.
‘Drogba will start, but I have to choose the striker to use with Drogba,” he said.
“I saw the same Didier, in focus on the training working hard with good motivation and I think he will play a fantastic game.”
Chelsea’s recent form in the Premier League is stuttering and with the team currently languishing in 5th place, 2 points behind Tottenham, The FA Cup should provide a welcome distraction to Ancelotti’s charges as they endeavour to win the competition for 3 consecutive seasons.
Championship side Reading await the winners of tomorrows fixture in the 5th Round and Ancelotti revealed he is looking for a strong performance to ensure his sides progress.
“The FA Cup is another competition, it is a different story, we did very well last year, we won and want to repeat it this year. Everton is a very difficult game, every time we play against them we have difficulties but we want to win and do our best to move on and play against Reading next week.”
“I think at the end they will play 38 games and we have to play 38 games. Now we are in fifth position, but this is our problem, we have to work quickly to arrive in the first four places.”
“It’s not good, we have to be honest. Now our table in the Premier League is not good but we have the possibility to improve.”
Up next for the Blues is the return of the Champions League and a trip to Denmark to face FC Copenhagen on Tuesday night and Ancelotti stated that whilst the Champions League is important for his side, their full attention must be focused on the Everton fixture and as such he would resist the urge to rest senior players.
“It is not necessary to rest players. Maybe I can change, to rotate something, but not because we want to prepare for the game against Copenhagen. That is a different story, we want to use all our power, strength and ability to win against Everton. It could be good for the atmosphere to win that game and prepare well for the start of the Champions League.”
Ancelotti also revealed good news on the fitness of three senior players with Yuri Zhirkov returning to the squad for tomorrows game for the first time since November, Jose Bosingwa ready to return for the Champions League trip and long term absentee Yossi Benayoun making good progress after undergoing running sessions on both grass and sand at Cobham.