Carlo Ancelotti has revealed he would consider gambling Chelsea's entire season - and possibly his own future - on Fernando Torres in Saturday's Barclays Premier League game against West Ham.
Blues manager Ancelotti refused to rule out resting the red-hot Didier Drogba and recalling £50million flop Torres for the must-win game at Stamford Bridge. That is despite seeing the same decision fail to bear fruit in last week's Champions League defeat at Manchester United, and the subsequent inclusion of Drogba lifting Chelsea back into the title race.
"Maybe I can use some rotation to maintain the players' freshness," Ancelotti said. "It wouldn't be easy to leave Drogba out, but there's a chance we could leave him out on Saturday."
He added: "We started with Torres against (Manchester) City. We won the game when Didier came on. It might be a good solution to give him the last 30 minutes of the game because he's fresh and fit."
Both goals in the 2-0 win over City came after Torres was replaced and the champions have scored just one goal in their their last eight matches while the striker has been on the pitch, with the remaining 10 coming during his absence.
Part of the problem is that most of Torres' team-mates - arguably barring Drogba judging by Chelsea's late indirect free-kick against Birmingham on Wednesday - are so desperate for him to end his 13-match drought for the club they are going out of their way to pass him the ball.
That ultimately might be counter-productive but Ancelotti was unconcerned, saying: "To score one goal, for him, could be the best medicine. If the players, the team-mates, help him, I'm happy. That means there's a good relationship with each other in the squad."
"Everyone has to know that Fernando is the present and the future of this club. We cannot judge now the moment. He will play a lot of games for Chelsea."
Ancelotti also insisted he would not be afraid to abandon the 4-3-3 formation which has been crucial to Chelsea's resurgence in the past two games. The Italian experimented with 4-4-2 following the club's worst run in the league for almost 15 years but, despite moderate success, the players have thrived since Ancelotti reverted to a three-pronged attack.
He said: "Our shape is good. The players are comfortable with that. We can change it in the next game - it depends on the shape of the opposition team."
Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.