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Nov 27, 2008

Chelsea striker Drogba admits tough six months

Didier Drogba has revealed the last six months have been the toughest of his career. The Chelsea striker suffered the heartache of a Champions League final loss against Manchester United, picking up a red card in the process, before injury cut short his League appearances.

When he did return, the Ivorian threw a coin into the crowd against Burnley and was banned for three games.

Although Drogba has committed his future to the Blues and insists he would be happy to finish his career in west London, he admits the past few months have taken their toll.

Asked if it has been the toughest period of his career, Drogba told Sky Sports News: "Yes, you can say that - it has been really tough in the last six months. But I've been through difficult moments before, so I know how to get myself out of this.

"Too many bad things have been said on me in the last few weeks, I don't really want to speak about it; I feel like what I've done [the coin throwing] is really bad. So it is better for me to keep quiet on that and to be back on the pitch and do what I know best."

However, Drogba has also called for the criticism to be balanced - especially in the light of the Champions League final.

"It's not my fault. I'm a football player and a public person; to be criticised, okay - but I think sometimes we need to be fair," he added. "It's easy to say Drogba is guilty for the loss instead to say Chelsea were unlucky. I had to (take the blame). It's difficult. But I can't lose, and I won't lose, my happiness; it's not possible."

The Ivorian has been linked with a move to Inter Milan in recent days, but Inter president Massimo Moratti has said he won't be joining the club after reports the striker held talks with club officials.

"I believe the desire is more the player's than anything else. I didn't even know (about the meeting) and I will get an explanation of what happened," he told reporters. "We don't need any strikers."

Drogba himself said in an interview with Aujourd'hui Sport: "I have only once said that I wanted a change, a year ago, after the departure of Mourinho. I didn't like the atmosphere at the heart of the club and I had the courage of my convictions.

"Two years ago, I scored 32 goals in a season - did you hear me asking to leave then? No. I am like any other goalscorer, happy when I am hitting the back of the net."

Drogba's future has been unclear and he found himself criticised following the Champions League final, where he was sent off and his team went on to lose to Manchester United in a penalty shoot-out.

To compound his red card for an incident with Nemanja Vidic, the Ivory Coast player stated in his autobiography he wished he had punched the Red Devils defender - although he was cleared of any further offence by the Football Association.

Injury then prevented the 30-year-old from starting his season until September, and his appearances since then have been sporadic.

In his absence, Nicolas Anelka has become the league's top scorer - and Drogba is now not guaranteed a first-team place, although said he 'dreams' of playing alongside the Frenchman.

"Nico is in top form but that doesn't surprise me,'' he said. ''When he was at Bolton, he scored lots of goals and his team were low down the table so I knew he was going to succeed at Chelsea.

"He is benefiting from the fact he is playing regularly and I am happy for him. The dream for both of us is to play together in attack. I am sure we could score lots of goals but for that to happen, we must be playing together."

In the interview, Drogba again slammed his reputation for being a diver by saying: "Rather than looking to give me the benefit of the doubt, the media have decided to make the most of my inadequacies at (speaking) English to give me this reputation."

He also admits he has learnt to cope with being constantly criticised. "At the start, it hurt me a lot and troubled me. But now, I couldn't care less," he added. "It is a lot easier to create this image of Drogba not being very nice than to really look to find out what I am really like. I haven't changed since I came to England."

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