Vol. 5 Num 923 Sun. December 31, 2006  

Barclays English Premier League
Drogba reveals Chelsea doubts

Chelsea striker Didier Drogba has admitted he thought about leaving the English Premier League champions before the start of the current campaign.

The Ivory Coast international will take his tally for the season to 20 goals if he nets in Saturday's west London derby against Fulham, his fine form having secured him a new four year-contract.

Nevertheless Drogba revealed he had doubts about staying with Chelsea but stressed they had nothing to do with the arrival of 30 million pounds forward Andriy Shevchenko from AC Milan before the season started.

"Every end of the season you have to think about what you have done," said Drogba. "I had some teams who wanted to sign me so I had to think as I had won the league here for two consecutive years.

"I was thinking but not too much because Chelsea showed how they respect me and how they wanted me to stay.

"It was not about Shevchenko but was just about Chelsea and me," he told BBC's Football Focus.

Drogba is carrying a slight thigh injury but will lead the attack against Fulham even though Blues manager Jose Mourinho had considered playing him in defence, with centre-half and skipper John Terry out with a back injury and Khalid Boulahrouz suspended.

Second-placed Chelsea trail leaders Manchester United by four points heading into Saturday's fixtures having conceded six goals in their last four games.

And Drogba admitted Chelsea had missed the influence of England captain Terry.

"It is difficult to play without John. Even if Paulo Ferreira, Boulahrouz and Ricardo Carvalho are doing as well as they can, John is still the boss in this team and we are waiting for him to be back quick."

Chelsea are also without first-choice goalkeepers Petr Cech (head) and Carlo Cudicini (thigh) as well as midfielders Arjen Robben (hamstring) and Joe Cole (foot). But assistant manager Steve Clarke insisted there was no sense of panic at Stamford Bridge.

"We are leaking goals we don't normally leak. We won two of the games so that was not a drama. We dropped two points (in a 2-2 draw) against Reading which was disappointing but over the course of a season you are going to have disappointing days and you have to bounce back from it.

"They don't hand out any trophies at this time of the year. We would prefer it if the gap wasn't there or was in our favour but it is not a big drama, it is just one weekend of football really.

"If we win and they (United) lose, it is suddenly one point. Fulham is a very big game and they always want to beat us so we expect a big test. We are ready for that."