Carlo - Drogba hitting form
Carlo Ancelotti says Didier Drogba is 'close to his best' despite drawing another blank against Blackburn.
Last Updated: 16/01/11 3:00pm
Carlo Ancelotti believes Didier Drogba is 'very close to his best' despite drawing another blank against Blackburn.
Chelsea produced an impressive performance on Saturday as goals from Branislav Ivanovic and Nicolas Anelka secured a 2-0 success.
Question marks remain over Drogba, who has struggled to regain top form since a bout of malaria earlier in the season and was again unable to find the target against Rovers.
However, Ancelotti maintains that he was happy with the contribution of the Ivory Coast international.
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."
Life of the striker
Ancelotti also dismissed suggestions that Drogba has looked a yard short of pace in recent weeks, saying his main strengths lie elsewhere.
The manager 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 has previously insisted that Drogba and Michael Essien are not undroppable, with neither man guaranteed to start at Bolton next Monday as Daniel Sturridge and Josh McEachran wait 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."