Chelsea Vs Manchester City, Sun 20 Mar 2011

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Cech, Ivanovic, David Luiz, Terry, Cole, Ramires, Essien, Lampard, Kalou, Torres, Malouda.

Subs: Turnbull, Drogba, Mikel, Bosingwa, Zhirkov, Ferreira, Anelka.

Man City:
Hart, Richards, Kompany, Lescott, Kolarov, De Jong, Toure Yaya, Barry, Milner, Dzeko, Silva.

Subs: Taylor, Wright-Phillips, Adam Johnson, Boateng, Vieira, Boyata, Balotelli.

Carlo Ancelotti has applauded Didier Drogba's acceptance of Chelsea's striker rotation policy following the arrival of Torres.

Drogba has lost his place in the side since the record-breaking signing of Torres, something he admitted this week he initially struggled to come to terms with.

But having held talks with Ancelotti, during which the Chelsea boss explained his rationale behind the move, the 33-year-old insisted he has come around to the idea of being in and out of the team for the remainder of the season.


Ancelotti said: "I was very happy with what Didier said in his interviews.

"If the players understand that rotation is important for the team, that's important.

"It makes my job easier to manage the team if they understand that, and that means there's no problem."

Speculation about Drogba's future has been rife since the record-breaking #50million signing of Torres and the Ivorian, whose contract expires next year, has revealed he will hold further talks with the club at the end of the season.

The success of Ancelotti's rotation policy will be judged ultimately on the number of goals his strikers score.

So far, they have not managed a solitary goal between them in the Premier League since Torres made his debut against Liverpool almost six weeks ago.

Indeed, Nicolas Anelka's brace in the Champions League last-16 first leg at FC Copenhagen represents the only goals they have netted in any competition.

The collective lack of confidence in front of goal was laid bare in Wednesday night's second leg, when Chelsea squandered around a dozen gilt-edged chances.

Whether rotation has had an effect is debatable, but Ancelotti clearly does not think so as he prepares to recall Torres and Malouda for the clash with City.

And he revealed his rotation policy extends beyond his forward line, with the January arrival of Luiz and the imminent return of Alex from injury meaning the same now applies at the other end of the field.

"The most important thing is that we have four defenders, four centre-backs, and no other team in the world has their quality or experience," said Ancelotti.

"They're not guaranteed places, no. Sometimes they'll need to rest.

"We have to play eight or nine games in April, so it's impossible to think I can use just 11 players.

"I'll need 20 players to move through this moment."

City manager Roberto Mancini is threatening to leave Mario Balotelli out of his side to face Chelsea.

Mancini appears to have lost patience with the controversial Italian striker in the wake of his Europa League red card against Dynamo Kiev and his starting place could go to Edin Dzeko.

Winger Adam Johnson made a quicker than expected return from an ankle injury to feature against Kiev on Thursday but is likely to remain on the bench as the Blues concentrate on trying to secure a Champions League spot.

Mancini is certain Torres will come good for Chelsea - he just does not want the #50million striker to start his renaissance against City .

Despite arriving at Stamford Bridge amid a huge fanfare following his British record move from Liverpool in January, Torres is still to score for his new club.

Sunday will mark the Spain star's seventh appearance for the Blues, with victory essential for both sides if they are to stand a chance of overhauling Manchester United and Arsenal in the Premier League title race.

Likening Torres' struggles to those of his own striker Dzeko, who has scored four times since a #27million transfer window arrival from Wolfsburg but is still to open his Premier League account and has struggled to gain a regular starting spot recently, Mancini realises the quality will shine through eventually.

"Torres is a fantastic player," he said.

"Maybe he is like Edin at this moment because they are both in new teams and it is not easy.

"You need time to understand different team-mates.

"But Torres is always dangerous. And like Edin, when he starts to score he will be a big problem for opposition defences."

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

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