STURRIDGE: SHOW OF STRENGTH

Posted on: Fri 30 Mar 2012

With Manchester United the visitors to Stamford Bridge on Sunday, Daniel Sturridge marks the game out as an opportunity to lay down a marker for the rest of the season.

The last-gasp draw at Swansea on Tuesday maintained our unbeaten start to 2012, but while we have only been beaten once in our last 11 league matches, there is no doubt that we desperately need to start turning draws into wins as we seek to close the gap on the leaders, as the forward explains.

'Of course, against teams that aren't in the top six we want to be winning every single one of those games, if you maybe win four and then draw one that's okay,' he told the official Chelsea website.

'We haven't been as consistent as we would have liked but we're in a progressive stage where all the teams are improving.

'The mood in the camp is very good and everybody is looking forward to going out there and showing what they can do.

'We played some great football against Swansea, we had some good chances and it was just unfortunate we didn't get the win.'

Trailing the league leaders by 12 points at this stage of the season is not something Chelsea supporters are used to given the success enjoyed by the club in recent years and while we certainly have a lot of ground to make up, Sturridge believes we only need to look at certain performances not so long ago for inspiration.

'We are a big club, and I don't think anybody should forget that,' he said. 'Just because we have had a bit of a bad spell and we haven't been winning as frequently as we have in the past, I think people are doubting the credibility of Chelsea which they should never do.

'We're a great club, and we are going to go out there on Sunday and prove to everybody that we can still compete with the likes of Manchester United. We've already shown by beating Manchester City that we can still mix it with the top two and we will be going out there on Sunday to show what we're about.'

Sturridge has been something of a revelation this campaign, scoring 10 goals so far in all competitions from a position which isn't his preferred choice, after being given a sustained run in the side by Andre Villas-Boas.

Having enjoyed a successful loan spell at Bolton in the second half of last season, he was unsure as to whether or not he would get his opportunity at Stamford Bridge, but the arrival of the Portuguese manager has enabled Sturridge to flourish.

'I can't score in every game because it's difficult from that position, but hopefully I can carry on producing my fair share of goals and keep getting assists as well,' he said.

'It's good that I'm scoring goals, that's what I love doing, I love scoring goals that help the team win games and that's what I'll be striving to do, I want to score as many as I can in order to help us climb the table.'

The visit of Man United on Sunday will see Sturridge meet up with a few familiar faces from his appearances with national teams.

Danny Welbeck, in particular, is a player he knows very well, having led the England Under 21 attack alongside him on a number of occasions, and he is only too aware of what the young striker is capable of.

'His biggest strength is the fact he works so hard for his team, he's also a very good finisher and when he gets a chance he tends to put it away,' said Sturridge.

'I've played up front with him for England Under-21s and Under-19s, I have a good relationship with him, and he's obviously a player with great abilities. He's somebody that will be around for a long time and hopefully one day we will be playing together for the senior national team.

'I've also played with Tom Cleverley who has a lot of talent, although I'm not sure if he will be fit for the game, but my big mate at United is Chris Smalling who I speak to quite regularly. He's a defensive rock and he'll be there to put his stamp on the game. He's a player who has improved so much, and he's proved what he's all about.'