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Drogba to start against United

Chelsea striker fit for Old Trafford showdown

Last Updated: 01/04/10 4:43pm

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Drogba: Will start against United

Drogba: Will start against United

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Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti has confirmed that striker Didier Drogba will start the crucial Premier League clash against Manchester United at Old Trafford on Saturday.

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"Manchester United have experience and have the players to cope with the absence of Wayne Rooney."
Carlo Ancelotti. Quotes of the week

The Ivory Coast international was an unused substitute for last weekend's home clash with Aston Villa, when the Blues made light of their top-scorer's absence to smash seven past Martin O'Neill's hapless side.

There had been suggestions that Drogba could miss the vital encounter with their title rivals due to his knee problem, but Ancelotti has moved to allay those fears.

The Italian not only rejected the reports that the powerful forward was struggling for fitness, but was bold enough to state that he would be in his starting XI.

Chelsea trail Sir Alex Ferguson's defending champions by one point with just five games remaining following this weekend's encounter.

Ancelotti told Sky Sports News: "Drogba had a little problem at the start of the week and was out for two days because he had kick on his knee.

"He was on the treatment table with (Yuri) Zhirkov but they have trained today very well. We don't have a problem with the other players.

"We have trained very well this week, we have had all the week to train. The team is fit."


While Chelsea's attacking talisman is available, United's star striker Wayne Rooney will not feature after suffering minor ankle ligament damage in the midweek defeat by Bayern Munich.

But Ancelotti has warned his side against any overconfidence and knows that the Red Devils are anything but a one-man team.

He said: "Everyone knows how Rooney is important to his team. He is a fantastic player and he is having a fantastic season, so this injury could be an advantage to us.

"But sometimes a team can give more than 100 per cent when a very important player is out, so we have to pay attention.

"Manchester United have experience and have the players to cope with the absence of Wayne Rooney."

Chelsea bounced back after the disappointment of crashing out of the UEFA Champions League to Inter Milan and drawing with Blackburn by demolishing Portsmouth and Aston Villa.


On top of boosting their goal difference by finding the net 12 times in two games, Ancelotti feels his title-chasing side are back on form ahead of what promises to be a pivotal moment in the campaign.

He added: "Those games were very important for us because we won, but we also came back to playing our football and having confidence in our game.

"If we want to win against Manchester United we need to show our game. We need to play football for 90 minutes and keep our concentration.

"Manchester United are a very dangerous team and they have a lot of players who can create difficulties for us.

"We want to play our football and keep control of the game. To do this at Old Trafford is not easy, but we will try."

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