Ancelotti: Chelsea can cope without Drogba

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti is confident his team will cope without Didier Drogba when the Ivory Coast striker is away on African Nations Cup duty next month.

The 31-year-old bagged a brace in Saturday's disappointing 3-3 home draw with Everton in the Barclays Premier League on Saturday, but Ancelotti reckons the Blues have the firepower to manage in his absence.

"I believe Didier Drogba, at the moment, is very important for us but I believe we can win without him in January," said the Italian.

"I would like to say, for the last time, we will not buy anybody in January - 100%."

Chelsea's draw gave Manchester United the chance to move level on points with the leaders at the league summit, but Sir Alex Ferguson's team were condemned to a 1-0 home defeat by Gabriel Agbonlahor's first-half winner for Aston Villa.

Nemanja Vidic and Dimitar Berbatov were denied in the second period, leaving Ferguson to contemplate what might have been.

"It is a missed opportunity," said the Scot. "We created plenty of opportunities and we should have taken at least one."

That result moved Villa up to third, with Tottenham slipping a place to fifth on the back of their surprise 1-0 home defeat to Wolves.

Wolves boss Mick McCarthy was surprised how little his team were tested en route to picking up their fourth win of the season.

He said: "Marcus Hahnemann's not been diving around making saves everywhere. I expect my keeper to have to make saves when we go to Spurs."

Neither Roman Pavlyuchenko nor David Bentley were in the Spurs' matchday squad, with manager Harry Redknapp deeming the pair not worthy of places on the bench.

"They're fit," Redknapp said. "I left them off the bench. There was no incident. He (Bentley) just played in a practice match and didn't deserve to be on the bench today, nor did Pavlyuchenko."

Manchester City manager Mark Hughes, particularly incensed by Craig Bellamy's dismissal, questioned the performance and attitude of referee Mark Clattenburg following his team's 3-3 draw at Bolton.

He said: "My assistant manager (Mark Bowen) has knocked on the referee's door and wasn't too impressed by what was said and the excuses given.

"We are really frustrated with his performance and the performance of the other officials. The first goal is clearly offside. Why the hell they found it difficult to get that one right I have no idea."

West Ham dropped into the bottom three as a result of their 1-0 defeat at Birmingham and Wolves' win at Spurs, but Hammers manager Gianfranco Zola felt his team did not do too much wrong at St Andrew's.

He said: "I thought we deserved something from the game. The players tried very hard and didn't deserve this result.

"But we have to dig even deeper to find a solution, and I think we have the players to do it. It is important not to panic."

Portsmouth remain rooted to the bottom but picked up a valuable late point at Sunderland thanks to Younes' Kaboul's last-gasp equaliser.

The defender's joy was short-lived as he was shown a second yellow card for his celebration, but Pompey boss Avram Grant left the Stadium of Light a satisfied man.

He said: "Not many times in my life have I been happy with a draw, but when you score in the last minutes, even a draw is good.

"I must say we deserved it in the second half even if in the first half we didn't play so well."

Elsewhere on Saturday, Burnley and Fulham battled out a 1-1 draw, Hull and Blackburn shared a 0-0 tie and one of the goals of the season from inside his own half by Wigan defender Maynor Figueroa was not enough to secure three points as his side were held to a 2-2 draw at Stoke.

Comments