Club Focus – Chelsea – Ancelotti commends triple threat strikers while Terry rallies ahead of United clash

Carlo Ancelotti has expressed his delight with his trio of forwards in the wake of Tuesday’s 2-0 win against FC Copenhagen in the first leg of their last 16 Champions League tie. With the January capture of Fernando Torres adding to the strength of established starters Nicolas Anelka and Didier Drogba, the Italian manager has had to rework his starting line-up in the four games since the arrival of ‘El Nino’, subject of a British record-breaking £50m transfer.

The Spaniard’s debut against former side Liverpool saw the threesome employed together in attack, but they struggled to gel in a damaging 1-0 defeat. Consequently, Drogba dropped to the bench for the goalless draw at Fulham a week later. With Torres cup-tied for last weekend’s FA Cup exit on penalties against Everton, the Ivorian was recalled but failed to add to his 10 goals for the season while Anelka missed in the shootout. Torres returned for the visit to Denmark and seemed to hit it off well with Anelka at the top of a 4-4-2 formation, and the Frenchman increased his tally for the season to 16 with a well taken double.

Under-fire Ancelotti took the opportunity following an encouraging display by his side against the Danes to praise the way his forwards have worked together after Torres’ entry to the side, and not questioned his decisions as manager: “We have fantastic strikers. I have to make a decision about the games, to put them in or not and they are accepting my decisions without problems. This is important,” the 51-year-old remarked. “We want to maintain their fitness but rotation could do them good with the Premier League and Champions League.

Captain John Terry echoed his manager’s sentiments with a glowing assessment of the club’s front-line options: “Our strikers are some of the best to play against and it must put fear into defenders,” the England international told Chelsea’s official website. He also suggested his side’s title challenge was still alive ahead of next Tuesday’s crucial home match against league leaders Manchester United. The Blues currently trail the Red Devils by 12 points with 12 games remaining, and they could be a further three points behind should United overcome Wigan Athletic on Saturday. Terry, however, remains adamantly ambitious that he and his teammates can still lift the Premier League come May with a faultless finish to the season:“We must beat Manchester United, a draw is no good and obviously losing is no good at all. We will go into the game with no fear, plenty of passion and being able to put pressure on them will be great,” Terry said. The game was due to be played in December but was abandoned due to heavy snowfall.

Elsewhere, Bolton Wanderers manager Owen Coyle has heaped praise on Chelsea’s on-loan forward Daniel Sturridge after the English youngster’s impressive start to life at the Reebok Stadium. Sturridge, 21, joined Bolton in the January transfer window until the end of the season and has found the net three times in three Premier League games since moving North: “He’s not surprised me. That’s why I brought him to the football club,” Coyle said. “I believe if he continues as he has been doing then he will have a glittering career.

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