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Feb 16, 2009

Anelka: Drogba partnership could have saved Phil

Chelsea striker Nicolas Anelka has suggested that he and Didier Drogba could have saved Luiz Felipe Scolari's job had the Brazilian played them in tandem.

Scolari was sacked as Blues manager a week ago after a run of poor results and performances, with Anelka and Drogba fighting for a single striking role under the former Portugal boss.

Anelka scored a 15-minute hat-trick in Saturday's 3-1 FA Cup victory over Watford when the Ivorian was brought on alongside him and believes that had they been given the chance to shine, their goals could have turned the club's form around.

''Of course we can work as a partnership for Chelsea,'' Anelka told The Sun. ''I have said it before and so has Didier but Scolari never tried playing us together.

''It was me scoring this time, but it might be Didier next time. That's good for Chelsea.''

The Ivorian has been dogged by injury problems so far this season but when asked whether he could get back to his best, Drogba said: ''I hope so. When you are sidelined for four months like I was, and then you return and get injured again, it isn't easy.

''The important thing for me now is simply to be on the pitch. It is up to me to show that I deserve to be on the pitch. I hadn't lost my instincts, I just lacked matches.

''If you want to improve your condition, it is better to be on the pitch. Training is all well and good but playing for 90 minutes is better.''

Scolari tended to operate with a lone striker but Drogba admits the pressure is now on him and Nicolas Anelka to prove they can work as an attacking partnership.

''There is something between us,'' Drogba told French sports newspaper L'Equipe. ''We are both quite intelligent players who know how to play together and create spaces for one another.

''It is a long time since he scored and then he scores three, three real striker's goals. I hope that will provide him with a boost, because the team needs him.''

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