Hiddink makes Drogba 'positioning' clear

Coventry City 0 Chelsea 2

While the bulk of the focus would fall on the bulk of Didier Drogba and the rejuvenation of a match-winner that is proving so timely for Chelsea, one comment from his manager was left to drift away in the Midlands air. "There are still some things he needs to improve," said Guus Hiddink.

It was inevitable that the veiled criticism would go largely unnoticed, particularly when the Dutchman began to croon about the Ivorian "working very hard from the first day I saw him". During the Luiz Felipe Scolari reign, Drogba and hard graft on the training pitch supposedly went together like Ashley Cole and photographers outside nightclubs.

Now, the old Drog is apparently happy to learn new tricks and that is obviously a headline in itself. But the fact that Hiddink thinks Drogba is in need of "extra training" surely is an entire story in itself and hints at Scolari not being all wrong. After all, it is not conditioning work the 30-year-old is staying behind for, but rather that of technique. "It is a specific programme on his positioning," revealed Hiddink. "We do some specific work on when he gets deliveries, crosses, passes and his mobility. It is focused on his position and on what is demanded in the game."

Of course, Drogba (right) has never been the classical centre-forward in the mould of, say, a Nicolas Anelka but what he has lost in this regard he has always made up for with his outrageous physicality, something Coventry would acknowledge after he scored his third goal in four games. Yet Hiddink clearly wants more from his controversial striker and more to the point, Drogba wants to give it.

With Anelka likely to miss tomorrow night's examination with a toe injury in Turin, then, this new, improved Didier will clearly be all- important. Certainly, Petr Cech sees the front man as crucial in their mission to convert their 1-0 advantage from the first leg into a quarter-final place in the Champions League. "He's such a strong guy and we can rely on him," said the goalkeeper. "We can use the long ball and he'll hold it up. It is a big boost for the team to have someone like this."

As it is a big boost to have Michael Essien back, the holding midfielder who fits into the "Makelele" role far more comfortably than John Obi Mikel. Hiddink confessed that he has a decision to make whether to start him against Juventus, although he did stress concerns about the Ghanaian's "game rhythm" following a six-month absence with a knee injury. Alas, Essien did not manage to gain much from his 25 minutes on Saturday as this poor FA Cup sixth-round tie had a depressing paucity of rhythm.

The Coventry manager, Chris Coleman, turned up vowing to bang the drum for the Championship but in the event all Coventry managed to beat was their brains out as they laboured in vain to find a way through the Blue wall. It was Hiddink's fifth win in his fifth game, a record start for a Chelsea manager.

For his part, Coleman will probably receive a call from the disciplinarians following his comments about Steve Bennett. The Welshman accused the referee of being "too friendly with the Chelsea players", of "being too smug with my senior players" and of generally allowing the awe he felt for the star names to influence his decisions. "He only just stopped short of asking them for their autographs," said Coleman.

In truth, that is a charge he could have directed towards his own players, especially in a first quarter in which they stood off their opponents, so allowing them into a comfort zone out of which they were destined never to be prised. Despite Drogba's classy finish, the opener could be put down to a defensive howler and while they could be excused for the breakaway second goal, their collective effort in between and thereafter did not nearly emulate the passion of the capacity crowd.

It was a bad day for Coventry all round as Crystal Palace's victory saw them drop further below halfway in the Championship table. After the romance comes the reality.

Goals: Drogba (15) 0-1; Alex (72) 0-2.

Coventry City (4-4-2): Westwood; Wright, Dann, Turner, Hall; Eastwood, Gunnarsson, Doyle (Beuzelin, 59), Henderson; Best, Morrison. Substitutes not used: Marshall (gk), Ward, Osbourne, McPake, Simpson, Thornton.

Chelsea (4-1-4-1): Cech; Bosingwa, Terry, Alex, A Cole; Mikel (Essien, 65); Kalou (Quaresma, h-t), Lampard, Ballack, Malouda; Drogba (Di Santo, 80). Substitutes not used: Hilario (gk), Carvalho, Belletti, Mancienne.

Referee: S Bennett (Kent).

Booked: Coventry Beuzelin.

Man of the match: Drogba.

Attendance: 31,407.

The Banksy image in Folkestone before it was vandalised
Life and Style

Sales of the tablet are set to fall again, say analysts

football West Brom vs Man Utd match report: Blind grabs point, but away form a problem for Van Gaal
Arts and Entertainment
Gotham is coming to UK shores this autumn
tvGotham, episode 2, review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Bloom Time: Mira Sorvino
tvMira Sorvino on leaving movie roles for 'The Intruders'
First woman: Valentina Tereshkova
peopleNASA guinea pig Kate Greene thinks it might fly
Brian Harvey turned up at Downing Street today demanding to speak to the Prime Minister

Met Police confirm there was a 'minor disturbance' and that no-one was arrested

Arts and Entertainment
George Lucas poses with a group of Star Wars-inspired Disney characters at Disney's Hollywood Studios in 2010

George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios

Chris Grayling, Justice Secretary: 'There are pressures which we are facing but there is not a crisis'

Does Chris Grayling realise what a vague concept he is dealing with?

Life and Style
A street vendor in Mexico City sells Dorilocos, which are topped with carrot, jimaca, cucumber, peanuts, pork rinds, spices and hot sauce
food + drink

Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets

Life and Style
The charity Sands reports that 11 babies are stillborn everyday in the UK
lifeEleven babies are stillborn every day in the UK, yet no one speaks about this silent tragedy
Blackpool is expected to become one of the first places to introduce the Government’s controversial new Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs)

Parties threaten resort's image as a family destination

Life and Style
Northern soul mecca the Wigan Casino
fashionGone are the punks, casuals, new romantics, ravers, skaters, crusties. Now all kids look the same
Life and Style

I Am Bread could actually be a challenging and nuanced title

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Salisbury ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities

The city is home to one of the four surviving copies of the Magna Carta, along with the world’s oldest mechanical clock
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album