Drogba aims to take Chelsea back to Premier League glory

LONDON: Didier Drogba has warned Chelsea's title rivals that he is determined to satisfy his voracious appetite for success by firing the Blues back to Premier League glory.

Drogba has won two league titles, two FA Cups and two League Cups since arriving at Stamford Bridge in 2004, but the Ivory Coast striker is still as hungry to lift silverware as ever.

Carlo Ancelotti's side were knocked off top spot by Manchester United last weekend, so the pressure is on Chelsea to reclaim pole position with a home win over West Ham on Saturday before the leaders, fresh from their impressive Champions League win over AC Milan, play 24 hours later against Fulham at Old Trafford.

Drogba, who has 25 goals this season, knows every match from now until the end of the season will come loaded with pressure, but the 32-year-old has no fears about Chelsea's ability to cope.

"We have lot of games coming and big games too so I don't want to bring bad luck by talking about if we win, but this season so far has been really good for me," he said.

"Even when I came back from the African Nations Cup it was good. I still have the same passion for the game. I still feel hungry and I am still chasing medals.

"I still feel like a kid when I am on the pitch so sometimes Ancelotti has to pull me back."

While Drogba expects Chelsea to last the pace, leaders United showed in their Wayne Rooney-inspired destruction of Milan that they are just as motivated to take the major honours.

Rooney has now scored 30 goals this season and is closing in on Cristiano Ronaldo's tally of 42 for United in the 2007-08 campaign.

United defender Nemanja Vidic knows only too well how tough Rooney is to subdue and he appreciates the need to keep the England forward, who has been struggling with a knee injury, fit for the rest of the season.

"I face Wayne in training every day so I know all about his ability," Vidic said.

"He's a good player and we just need to make sure he stays fit. Over the last few years he's had one or two injuries and it's been difficult for him to pick up the right form. But he's doing so well for us at the moment."

If United or Chelsea slip up, then Arsenal are in the mood to take advantage after their 5-0 thrashing of Porto in midweek.

Arsene Wenger's side are set to be without captain Cesc Fabregas again as he struggles with a hamstring problem, but the Gunners have defied injuries and criticism from pundits to remain firmly in the title race.

It is an achievement which Wenger attributes to the squad's mental strength.

"We are where we are because we have shown a strong mental attitude and a good solidarity within our squad," Wenger said.

"Let's take care of that because that is very fragile and goes very quickly.

"For me that is the most important thing, that we work hard, keep our humility, work hard for each other and then we have a chance."

Elsewhere on Saturday, Tottenham will attempt to consolidate fourth place with a win at home to Blackburn.

Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp knows his team have a golden opportunity to snatch a Champions League place, but he also fears Manchester City, who travel to Sunderland on Sunday.

"We're right in there and have got a great chance. But Manchester City are the team to watch out for," Redknapp said.

On Monday Liverpool will try to bounce back from a dismal defeat at Wigan when they host beleaguered Portsmouth.

Fixtures (1500GMT unless stated)


Birmingham v Everton, Bolton v Wigan, Burnley v Wolves, Chelsea v West Ham, Hull v Arsenal (1730GMT), Stoke v Aston Villa, Tottenham v Blackburn (1245GMT)


Man Utd v Fulham (1330GMT), Sunderland v Man City (1600GMT)


Liverpool v Portsmouth (2000GMT)