Petr Cech urges Chelsea to pair Fernando Torres and Didier Drogba in attack


Click to follow
The Independent Football

Petr Cech has urged Roberto Di Matteo to unleash both Fernando Torres and Didier Drogba on Chelsea's opponents in their triple pursuit of glory.

Torres yesterday left caretaker Blues boss Di Matteo with a real selection headache for the remaining five games of the season after scoring a stunning hat-trick in the 6-1 west London derby thrashing of QPR.

With Drogba also in scintillating form, Di Matteo must decide how to line up in the FA Cup final, Champions League final and three crucial Barclays Premier League games.

He must make an immediate decision for arguably the most important of the three league games at home to Newcastle on Wednesday night.

For goalkeeper Cech, the solution is simple.

"I'd start both," he said.

"I believe it is possible but I don't know whether it would be done or if it would work.

"I am sure one day it will happen and there will be goals."

That view is in defiance of conventional wisdom, which has long held Torres and Drogba do not work as a partnership.

Former manager Carlo Ancelotti quickly abandoned any attempt to start them in tandem, doing so just four times before being sacked at the end of last season.

Andre Villas-Boas was just as reluctant, with Torres and Drogba in the same XI on just one occasion.

Di Matteo yesterday insisted both strikers could play together, pointing out they had done so plenty of times - although he has yet to start both of them at all.

Playing a twin strikeforce would involve abandoning Di Matteo's preferred 4-2-3-1 formation, and although he could fit Torres in on the right, the Spaniard proved against QPR he much prefers to be the attacking spearhead.

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich left little doubt who he would rather see lead the line, high-fiving his companions in the Stamford Bridge directors' box yesterday after Torres completed his treble.

Abramovich was in danger of being embarrassed by his record-breaking £50million splurge on Torres and refusal to bow to Drogba's contract demands.

The Russian is a long way from getting value for money but the signs are suddenly looking much more positive, which also bodes well for Di Matteo's bid to be appointed manager full-time.

But getting Torres firing will mean little if Chelsea do not qualify for next season's Champions League, something they can take a huge step towards by beating fifth-placed Newcastle.

Cech began the mind games ahead of Wednesday's clash by pointing out the Magpies' players were in uncharted territory.

He said: "I think our greater experience will be really important on Wednesday because Newcastle are in a position they haven't been in for a long time, only once maybe, and we have been there many times.

"It could be the decisive factor but they and we have everything to play for. It will be an exciting game but our experience will help."

Chelsea will not need to finish in the top four if they win next month's Champions League final against Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena.

But Cech said: "We want to go to Munich and have the sense that the job is done and we can then easily concentrate only on the final.

"That would be the ideal scenario but we still have to fight for that to happen.

"We enjoyed the win over QPR because we scored six goals, it makes for a good goal difference, which could be important."

It certainly looks easier for Chelsea to win their final three league games than to beat Bayern on home soil, especially with the German giants having only one meaningful game - the German Cup final - between now and the Champions League showpiece.

Cech said: "Bayern can't win the title so the only thing they will focus on is the game against us. We have a few games where we need to win.

"We are playing so many games with the pressure but on the other hand we will be ready to play another game with the pressure.

"You can never predict what is going to happen on May 19 but, hopefully, it will be a day to remember."

Meanwhile, QPR today confirmed midfielder Hogan Ephraim had returned to the club following the completion of his loan spell at Bristol City.