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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Apr, 29, 2011

Blues stars may influence team selection

Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti has revealed he may consult his players before deciding whether to pair Fernando Torres and Didier Drogba in tomorrow's Barclays Premier League clash with Tottenham.

Ancelotti has spent this week trying to devise a way to get both of his star strikers in his starting XI for the must-win game at Stamford Bridge.

That would mean abandoning the 4-3-3 formation that has helped the champions give themselves a glimmer of hope of retaining the title, and instead experimenting again with 4-4-2.

More than one Chelsea player has come out recently backing the return to 4-3-3 and Ancelotti may risk upsetting his squad if he elects to gamble their entire season - and possibly his own future - by changing a winning formula.

The Italian insisted he would take into account any objections his players had, but warned the final decision lay with him.

``I'm not a dictator,'' he said. ``If they want to have an opinion, they can speak, obviously.

``Maybe sometimes I ask the players if they are comfortable to play 4-3-3 or 4-4-2.

``I think that we don't have a problem to play 4-4-2 or 4-3-3. The result doesn't depend on the shape that you use.

``The result depends on the motivation that the players have, on the spirit that the players use on the pitch during the game.''

Torres and Drogba have failed to strike up an understanding since the former's £50million transfer from Liverpool and have started just three of 14 possible matches together.

But Ancelotti was adamant it was worth trying to get them to dovetail after watching the Spain star finally end his long goal drought against West Ham on Saturday.

``Maybe they can sacrifice something of their ability, of their skills, but they can play together,'' he said.

``If you are able to do this, I think it is good for the team, to get good results. I think it will not be a surprise if they can start on Saturday together.''

Ancelotti reported a clean bill of health for tomorrow's game, despite previous concerns over the fitness of midfielders Michael Essien and Ramires.

He also refused to criticise Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho's approach to Wednesday night's Champions League semi-final first leg against Barcelona.

Former Chelsea manager Mourinho has been castigated for his negative tactics in the 2-0 defeat, but Ancelotti said: ``I think that his aim was not to concede a goal at home.

``Sometimes, 0-0 at home is not a bad result overall when you have to play a team that you consider better than your team.''

Mourinho has also been charged by UEFA for his post-match attack on Barca and referee Wolfgang Stark.

Despite admitting managers had a ``social responsibility'' not to bring the game into disrepute, Ancelotti felt Mourinho's outburst had not damaged football.

He said: ``Everyone knows Mourinho. Mourinho likes to play mind games. He is fantastic.

``He was disappointed about this (match), but usually he respects the rules.''

end

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