Mata hoping Drogba extends Chelsea stay

Juan Mata is hoping that Chelsea team-mate Didier Drogba can be convinced to remain at Stamford Bridge, insisting he believes the Ivorian still to be one of the world’s best strikers.

Drogba bagged a brace during Tuesday night’s 3-0 win over Valencia, securing top spot in Group E and qualification for the knockout stage of the Champions League.

Speculation has suggested that the Blues could be looking to move the powerful front-man on in January, with the 33-year-old reluctant to sign a new deal.

And with his contract set to expire at the end of the season, Anzhi Makhachkala and former club Marseille have been linked with his signature.

However, Mata is hoping a deal can be struck between both the player and the club, telling the Evening Standard: "Didier is a super striker.

"He is strong and fast, scores goals and makes assists. He is very important for us and against Valencia he showed it.

"I don't know what is happening. It is an individual decision between the club and Didier but for us it is important to have strikers like Didier, Fernando Torres and Salomon Kalou."

Meanwhile, the Spaniard is hoping the Blues can claw their way back into the title race after a dip in form.

With qualification for the last 16 of the competition now guaranteed, focus now switches back to the Premier League and a mouth-watering encounter between the West London side and current leaders Manchester City.

"It's not impossible for us to still win the title,” the former Valencia star added.

"Have we answered the critics? Yes, with the win against Valencia and the last game at Newcastle. These two games have given us more confidence and we have to train this week very well to play against City. That is a very important game for us as well.

"We want to change our record in the big games this season because we lost against Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester United but we hope against Manchester City we change this bad thing.

"City are having a great Premier League. They are the leaders, they win every game, but we hope here at Stamford Bridge they will have a difficult game.

"Is it a game we can't afford to lose? I don't know. We hope to win, that is all we are thinking about. We never think about losing."

By Ben McAleer