Chelsea's in-form striker Didier Drogba has highlighted the club's rediscovered team spirit as the key reason for their current revival under coach Carlo Ancelotti.
The Chelsea dressing room with its array of international superstars proved to be the downfall of Luiz Felipe Scolari 10 months ago. But Drogba, who took his season's tally to 12 goals with a brace against Atletico Madrid on Tuesday night, claimed the team's character will be up to the challenge of taking on champions Manchester United in Sunday's showdown at Stamford Bridge.
Drogba said: "We changed the manager but we still have the same players and I think we have more experience and we know each other more. The spirit between the players is fantastic. This is one of the reasons why we are playing so well at the moment.
"More than the goals, the character and spirit we are showing is important. Of course, you need character to play against United."
Drogba could hold the key to victory for Chelsea, who go into the match with a two-point lead over the champions. Chelsea winger Florent Malouda, who has been close friends with Drogba ever since they played together for French side Guingamp seven years ago, claimed his team-mate's rejuvenation this season is simply down to confidence and hard work.
"He has always believed in himself," Malouda said. "Even when he was playing in the second division in France he was dreaming and preparing himself and that is why I am not surprised. But, even though he is at this level, he is working harder and harder every day in training."
Malouda insisted the opportunity to extend the club's Premier League advantage over Manchester United to five points was one the players do not intend to waste.
Chelsea have won all nine home games this season in all competitions, and in the process have gone 13 hours and two minutes without conceding a goal at Stamford Bridge, since Hull's Stephen Hunt scored on the opening day of the season.Reuse content