Carlo Ancelotti believes Didier Drogba has a long-term future at Chelsea after watching the striker produce a masterclass display in an emphatic 3-1 win at West Brom.
After being on the bench for Chelsea's Champions League quarter-final exit to Manchester United on Tuesday, the 33-year-old was restored to the starting line-up at The Hawthorns and was almost unplayable as he poached the equaliser after Peter Odemwingie had given the Baggies the lead before playing a part in the two goals that followed.
Drogba has a year left on his contract following this season but Ancelotti believes he still has plenty more to give at this level, and said: "He has to continue to train well, be professional, because for a player who is 30 years old, it is important he trains, to have good control of his body, and do everything to maintain his fitness."
He added: "As we know Didier had a problem with malaria and lost a few months when he was not 100%.
"But when he is, every time he is able to use his abilities, his power for the team, and he has a body that can continue for a long time."
Insistent Fernando Torres was not bought to replace Drogba, Ancelotti added: "They (the club) bought Torres because he is a fantastic striker, young, but this doesn't mean Didier has to go.
"He has been a very important player for the club in the past, and he will be for the club in the future."
Torres was restricted to an eight-minute cameo at the end of the game, extending his goal-less drought to 871 minutes after having one effort ruled out for offside.
Ancelotti again launched a defence of the player insistent he will score, with the hope that will be in the next game at home to Birmingham on Wednesday. As for his own future, a source of considerable speculation over the last few days, the Italian again stated he is simply waiting on a decision from owner Roman Abramovich.
"I have a contract, but I know very well we were not good enough this season," added Ancelotti, whose side have cut the gap to leaders Manchester United to eight points. "I hope we can finish well this season, win all our last six games, and after that the club will take a decision."