Anelka eager to help out Drogba

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The Independent Football

Nicolas Anelka has told Chelsea manager Luiz Felipe Scolari he is ready to play a supporting role for Didier Drogba in attack.

Anelka bagged the 100th Premier League goal of his career and his 16th of the season in Sunday's 1-1 draw with West Ham, but with Drogba fit again the France striker now wants Scolari to give the pair a chance to form a potent partnership.

Scolari, reflecting on his first six months at Chelsea, has revealed he will be using the next fortnight to tinker with his style and that could mean finding a place for both strikers in his 4-3-3 system.

Chelsea have already dropped 14 points at Stamford Bridge this season and their poor home form is threatening to undermine their title ambitions.

Anelka, 29, has enjoyed successful partnerships with Dennis Bergkamp at Arsenal and Michael Owen at Liverpool and now wants the opportunity to see if he can make it work with Drogba.

"It was good to play with Bergkamp," said Anelka. "He is the kind of player that played for you. He can score, but also gave a good ball for you to score, and he liked to do it.

"With Michael Owen it was good, because I played the other way, I used to play in front, then I turned supplier. I was pleased with our partnership and it worked.

"It was good to play with him in front and he is a good player, someone who can score a lot of goals. I loved to play to play just behind him and make him score goals.

"Even if I don't score as many goals, I like to play good football, and if I have to play behind Didier I will.

"I won't score like I score now but I still play a part and I like the way I play. Maybe you don't score as many as when you are a striker but it is no problem.

"I think it is strange because there have been some great partnerships. The way football is now with two up front it is seen as too attacking, but I think it is normal.

"Maybe this is the way, football is stronger and quicker now, but I don't understand why we don't play like that now and everyone plays with one up front, I don't understand why."

Until now, Scolari's options have been limited by injuries and suspension to Drogba, but he intends to use the next 10 days to work on variations in tactics and that is certain to include trying to find a way to use the attacking pair.

"I have now two weeks to work with the players and in that time I have time to train the second system or the third system, because before it was impossible," said Scolari.

"Before I had six, seven, eight players injured, and we played Wednesday and Saturday and international games. Now, this week I train two times, with different style and I say to my players, 'If the game is like this, I will try putting this player here'.

"Now in the training, 20 minutes into the training I see what's happening. Now I have time and no injuries and a good chance for me to start to play and change the systems."

The Brazilian coach also insists the job of managing Chelsea has been more substantial than he previously expected.

"It's bigger than I thought before," he said. "And it's a little different than other clubs that I was coach at before.

"It's fantastic. For a coach, I think this is the best time of my life. I am happy and so is my family. It's an opportunity and when the opportunity arrives, you need to fight for it."

Although 'fuming' at the end of the Carling Cup defeat by Burnley, Scolari says he has only been truly disappointed by the team's performance in two of his 25 matches.

"These two games it is impossible for me to accept," he said. "Sometimes we make mistakes, I know this and they know this and we're training for the next time to not make mistakes or be wrong more times."

Scolari is unlikely to have the cash to make any changes to the squad in the January transfer window but repeated his desire to finish his first season with more than one piece of silverware.

"The first day that I arrived here I opened the door and I said to the players, 'My door is open every time'," he added.

"They know that I am a big friend and sometimes father and sometimes brother. I try my best with the players to pick not one, but two or three trophies, if we win two competitions I think it is fantastic."