Ancelotti praises misfiring strikers as Europe's best

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The Independent Football

The Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti likes to say he never asks his strikers to score goals, but perhaps he should start. Ancelotti yesterday described his quartet of strikers as among the best in Europe, even though collectively they have failed to score in the past five Premier League games, ever since Fernando Torres made his debut following his £50m move from Liverpool.

Torres has endured 498 minutes for Chelsea without a goal, but the malaise has spread to his fellow strikers, as Didier Drogba, Nicolas Anelka and Salomon Kalou have all failed to manage a Premier League goal since the Spaniard was introduced as a Chelsea player.

Ancelotti however said he would not swap them for anyone. Asked if he thought his four strikers were the best in Europe, the Italian replied: "I think so. I think they're one of the best groups of strikers, with their skills. I'm happy with these strikers at this moment. I don't want to swap them with anybody."

Ancelotti said he is considering leaving Torres on the bench for today's trip to Stoke City, where the more physical presence of Drogba and Anelka may be more appropriate.

Ancelotti said he works best under the pressure that comes at the end of the season. "I'm excited. I'd be less excited if I felt my team wasn't in good form, with good motivation, but they are motivated and confident. I think I'm better under pressure," he said.