Drogba unwilling to relinquish top spot

2010-02-09 10:32

Didier Drogba sent Chelsea back to the top of the Premier League by

shooting down Arsenal and the Ivory Coast hitman is determined they will still

be there after tomorrow’s trip to Everton.

Drogba scored both his side’s goals in Sunday’s 2-0 win over

Arsenal at Stamford Bridge. That gave Carlo Ancelotti’s side a two-point

advantage over Manchester United, who travel to Aston Villa on the same

night.

A point at Goodison Park is no disgrace for any side but Drogba

knows it will not be good enough to remain at the summit if United win at Villa

Park.

He said: “There is always pressure, that’s part of the game, and

that’s why we get excited about big matches like this.

“We are top of the league again and Manchester United are going to

have to fight all the way to the title.

“Now we have to go to Everton and win there if we want to stay top

of the League and win this race against Manchester United.”

The Everton supporters are likely to barrack Chelsea captain John

Terry in the wake of the allegations about his private life that saw him

stripped of the England captain’s armband last week. Terry was given a hero’s

reception by the Chelsea fans during the win over Arsenal but, provided he

recovers from a dead leg in time, he will be stepping into a much more hostile

environment tomorrow evening.

Drogba, though, has no doubts about his team-mate’s ability to

cope.

“No matter what’s happening outside of football, on the pitch he is

a great player and he is doing everything he can,” Drogba said. “He is our

captain, a great captain, and we owe him.”

Michael Ballack meanwhile has underlined the extent to which

Drogba’s return from the African Nations Cup has boosted confidence in the

Chelsea camp.

“In big games like the one against Arsenal, he is there and that is

why he is a big player,” the Germany captain said.

“Didier has unbelievable physical strength, but he has great

technique, is a great free-kick taker and has the nose of a striker. He has a

lot of qualities and not a lot of players are like this.

“But we have a lot of big characters and this is why we have a good

team.

“It is really great to play in a team like this. Everybody fights

for everybody – there is a good spirit and experience in the team.

“We have played for a few years together and have a lot of personal

qualities in the players.

“Even if you don’t play a fantastic game yourself, we have players

who can decide games by one action.”

Leighton Baines believes Everton can use the disappointment of a

weekend derby loss to Liverpool to get a result against the league

leaders.

The left-back is confident this can be achieved even without

influential duo Marouane Fellaini and Steven Pienaar, who are injured and

suspended respectively, especially as playmaker Mikel Arteta is available

again.

He said: “We are very strong at home and feel confident we can beat

anyone at Goodison. There have been a few games against Chelsea when we’ve

played well and should have beaten them.

“There have been a few games against the top four sides which have

been the same, when we have just got a point rather than what we deserved, but

if we play anything like we did at Stamford Bridge we can get a point.

“We will miss Steven because of his ban, and missing Marouane too

means we are without two very influential players but Mikel will be a big player

for us and Jack Rodwell is getting back to full fitness too which is

important.”


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