DROGBA: DEFENSIVE DISPLAY DESERVES GREAT CREDIT

Posted on: Fri 30 Mar 2012

Didier Drogba insisted that the pressure Chelsea had been under going into the make-or-break Champions League clash with Valencia had, ultimately, worked in our favour.

The Ivorian played an instrumental part in our 3-0 victory, scoring twice and laying on the other goal for Ramires, and a fantastic night was made all the more sweet with Bayer Leverkusen only managing a draw in Genk, meaning we qualified as winners of Group E.

'There was a lot of pressure but we still had a chance to finish top and we were positive, pressure can sometimes be positive,' said Drogba.

'It was a good result and we qualified top of the group, we won 3-0 and scored a few goals so it was a good night for us and I am very happy.'

The tension inside Stamford Bridge was eased within three minutes when Drogba fired home from inside the box, but Valencia enjoyed long spells of possession throughout the game.

Aside from hitting the post and forcing Petr Cech into a marvellous save in the first half however, Chelsea rarely looked troubled at the back, something which Drogba was eager to point out.

'We needed to be compact because they scored seven goals [in their previous Champions League match against Genk] and were in good form, and I was impressed with the way we defended,' he said.

'The manager is trying to build something strong like other managers did before him, he bought some new players and we have to adapt and be together.'

Speculation surrounding Drogba's future at the club has been gathering momentum in recent weeks and there has been talk of him moving on when the January transfer window opens.

But the player, who has been a cornerstone of the club's success since he joined in 2004, is fully focused on the next round of the tournament.

'My future is not important,' he said. 'The most important thing is the team coming back to a position we want to be in, we are not happy with where we are now and we are working on it.

'It is going to be interesting to see who we get [in the draw], it is always good to finish top of the group.'

Petr Cech, meanwhile, claimed that the Blues' ruthless efficiency in front of goal made the game appear easier than it was.

Having gone in front very early on, Andre Villas-Boas's tactics were to defend deep and hit the Spanish side on the counter attack; a ploy that was carried out to perfection according to our goalkeeper.

'It wasn't easy because it was a very tough game,' said Cech. 'The difference was that we took our chances and scored an early goal and it made a difference.

'In our previous games we had so many chances but didn't kill those teams off and here we had to fight until the end, but 3-0 is a very good result.'

With the Blues 2-0 up and knowing a score draw would send the Spaniards through, one Valencia goal would have made for a very nervy last few minutes.

But the third goal proved to be the final nail in the coffin, allowing Chelsea to see the game out in a comfortable manner.

'We wanted to search for the third goal so we didn't concede and kept a clean sheet, and once we scored the third the game was over and the pressure was off. They didn't have so much belief after the third goal.

'It is very good we finished top of the group and to play a team who finished second could be an advantage, but I don't have any preference.'