Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti has revealed that striker Didier Drogba could require surgery at the end of the season to cure a long-standing groin problem.
Drogba - who watched Chelsea's 7-1 demolition of Aston Villa last week from the sanctuary of the substitutes' bench - has been carrying the injury for some time but will spearhead the Blues attack for the vital clash with Manchester United this weekend.
"Drogba has been living with this problem for three or four months but it is not a big problem," revealed Ancelotti. "He will not need surgery now and if he needs to have an operation at the end of the season he will be ready in seven days because it will be a very little surgery - but I don't know if he will need to have that surgery."
The Italian added: "Sometimes he has problems after the game but during the week he doesn't have any difficulty.
"He was a little bit tired before the last game against Aston Villa so I didn't want to take the risk to put him on the pitch but now he is fit and he has to play."
The injury has not stopped the Drogba from bagging 30 goals this season, and Chelsea are the top scorers in the Barclays Premier League with 82 goals.
But despite hitting seven twice in home league games this season, Ancelotti is reluctant to take on the mantle of being a coach who puts forward play first.
"I don't consider myself an attacking coach," added the Italian. "I am Italian and the fortune of Italian football is defensively. I like balance. I am a balanced coach.
"This is our aim, to attack and play football, but the first thing is to maintain balance because I don't like to concede a goal.
"The easy way to score is a counter-attack. In Italy the team that won Serie A was not the team that scored more goals, it was the team that conceded the least."