Carlo Ancelotti insists Fernando Torres and Didier Drogba are not rivals but "collaborators" in Chelsea's quest to get their stuttering season back on track.
The signing of Torres was seen by some as a signal Drogba's days at Stamford Bridge were numbered - a view that gained momentum after the latter was dropped for Monday night's game at Fulham.
Drogba returns to the side for Saturday's FA Cup fourth-round replay with Everton, with Torres cup-tied, meaning Ancelotti has more time to ponder whether the partnership that failed to click during the latter's debut two weeks ago should be resurrected.
The Chelsea boss looks set to do just that after claiming the pair can form a lethal strikeforce for years to come.
"I think so because I want to say that Didier in my opinion is not old," Ancelotti said. He didn't have in his career a lot of injuries. He has a good motivation and he wants to be at the top.
"In this season, he had some problems because he had malaria and for two and a half months he was not in good condition. He has time to be important for us in all the games."
He added of the Torres-Drogba dynamic: "It is not right to say they are in competition. They are in collaboration. They have to work together to help the team, to try to do the best.
"Collaboration has to be in the squad, not competition."
Chelsea cannot afford Torres' £50million signing to be a disruption, with the Barclays Premier League title all but surrendered and a top-four place by no means certain.
Vice-captain Frank Lampard this week claimed failure to qualify for next season's Champions League would be "a disaster".
Ancelotti said: "For everyone, not just the club, to play the Champions League is the most important thing.
"I would like to train a team in the Champions League because the Champions League I think is the best competition in the world.
"It will be a fight between six teams because maybe Liverpool has a dream to reach fourth place."
Chelsea are currently fifth, two points behind Tottenham.
Ancelotti said: "I'm not worried. I'm an optimist because I believe my team has the quality, has the ability."
Winning the Champions League would, of course, be another way to qualify.
That would involve reaching a Wembley final which could be one of the most expensive in history, with UEFA controversially selling tickets for up to £300.
Ancelotti said: "It's too much.
"With £300, I can have a fantastic dinner, a fantastic bottle of wine."