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Drogba's future again in jeopardy

Didier Drogba
Drogba has been left out of the squad for the last two Chelsea matches

Didier Drogba's future at Chelsea looks increasingly precarious after manager Luis Felipe Scolari left him out of his squad for the second time in four days.

Scolari opted for youngsters Miroslav Stoch and Franco Di Santo for the 2-1 comeback win over Stoke, insisting they offered him more than the Ivorian.

"It was my choice not to have Drogba," said a defiant Scolari.

"I don't have anything against Drogba. I am the coach, it was my choice and today two young kids offered me more."

The decision to leave Drogba out of the squad once again raises the possibility that the player may be sold in the January transfer window.

The 29-year-old, signed from Marseille for 24m in July 2004, has been linked with a move to Inter Milan, coached by former Blues boss Jose Mourinho.

Chelsea have consistently said Drogba will not be sold, but Scolari suggested on Saturday that he could leave Stamford Bridge if an offer was big enough.


Scolari suggested the decision to include Stoch and Di Santo in the squad to face Stoke represented a change in philosophy at the club, with more emphasis on blooding young talent that signing expensive stars.

As it turned out, both players came off the bench to inspire Chelsea's fightback.

"Di Santo is a young boy. He came on the pitch and helped us," said Scolari. "Miroslav Stoch is a young boy and he helped us.

"This is the way for Chelsea in this moment. I have to follow the idea of the board and my idea for the future of Chelsea."

Whatever strategy Scolari adopts, he will have the backing of Frank Lampard.

The England midfielder celebrated his goal against Stoke by running to the technical area to embrace his coach - and he was soon joined by the whole team for a celebratory group hug.

"We are all behind him," declared Lampard. "It is difficult when people keep try to say things to split things up.

"The manager first of all is a very good man and he has been a very successful manager for a long time.

"Hopefully that success is going to come here."

Drogba was also left out of the Chelsea squad for the midweek FA Cup replay at Southend.

But Scolari says the forward might come into the reckoning for next weekend's FA Cup fourth-round clash at home to Championship side Ipswich.

"He is training every day. Maybe next week, I choose him to play," said the Brazilian. "It is a choice of mine, that's all."

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see also
Chelsea 2-1 Stoke
17 Jan 09 |  Premier League
Southend 1-4 Chelsea
14 Jan 09 |  FA Cup
Scolari calls for Chelsea unity
13 Jan 09 |  Chelsea
Chelsea 'must give Scolari time'
13 Jan 09 |  Chelsea
Alan Hansen's column
12 Jan 09 |  Football
Title hopes damaged, says Scolari
12 Jan 09 |  Premier League
Lee Dixon's tactical view
12 Jan 09 |  Premier League
Man Utd 3-0 Chelsea
11 Jan 09 |  Premier League
Drogba banned for three matches
18 Nov 08 |  Chelsea
Drogba will miss start of season
04 Aug 08 |  Chelsea

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