Lampard - Drog not sulking
Frank Lampard has praised Didier Drogba's committed reaction to being dropped from the Chelsea starting XI.
Last Updated: 02/03/11 1:37pm
Frank Lampard has praised Didier Drogba's committed reaction to being dropped from the Chelsea starting XI in recent games.
The Ivory Coast international has been a talismanic figure for the Blues over the past few seasons but suddenly finds himself facing fierce competition for a place up front following the £50million arrival of Fernando Torres.
Torres has lined up alongside Nicolas Anelka for the past couple of games, leading to reports that Drogba could be disgruntled about being on the substitutes' bench.
However, Lampard insists that is not the case as Drogba has been working as hard as ever since coming out of the side.
The England midfielder, whose penalty secured a 2-1 victory over Manchester United on Tuesday night, believes having three strikers of such quality will stand Chelsea in good stead for the rest of the season.
Speaking about Drogba, Lampard told the Evening Standard: "His reaction to losing his place has been brilliant and it is a load of nonsense when people say he has the hump. It has been far from that.
"He has been getting behind the lads, telling us to 'come on'. He has trained with commitment and played with commitment as a substitute. It is nonsense to say he is sulking.
"To have those three strikers at the club is huge for us in the final months of the season. They are three of the best in the world."
Lampard also praised Ashley Cole for performing well despite the criticism of his recent off-field behaviour.
"Ashley plays brilliantly every game, that's why he is the best left-back in the world," said Lampard.
Lampard hopes Chelsea can now build on the win against United as they look to mount an unlikely late push for the title.
Carlo Ancelotti's men remain 12 points behind the Red Devils and Lampard accepts the result has also boosted the hopes of second-placed Arsenal.
"We need to go on from here. We normally go on a late run at this time of the season and that is what we hope to do now," said Lampard, who feels Chelsea can still improve on their performance against United.
"If we don't get a result in our next game, against Blackpool, then this will mean nothing.
"We can't get ahead of ourselves. We usually put a run of wins together but we haven't done it so far this season. It is something we need to do now to give us a chance.
"It was important to win a big match again and in the second half there was a little of the old Chelsea in there, you could see the power in the team, the commitment and the strength.
In with a shout
"We can play much better. There were times at the end of last season and the beginning of this that our football was top drawer. It was probably as good, if not better, than anyone else in Europe.
"Lately we haven't been playing like that but we can get back to those high levels.
"Does this victory help Arsenal win the title? If Arsenal keep winning, but that's not a given either.
"United have enough experience to know it is a marathon and there is a long way to go.
"But we don't really care about anyone else. If we keep winning all our games, we'll be in with a shout."