Carlo Ancelotti believes Didier Drogba has a long-term future at Chelsea after a world-class display in their 3-1 win at West Brom.
The Ivory Coast international found himself on the bench for Chelsea's UEFA Champions League quarter-final exit to Manchester United on Tuesday with £50million man Fernando Torres selected ahead of him.
But after a below-par display which saw the Spaniard substituted at half-time for Drogba, the usual first-choice Chelsea forward showed how it should be done with a goal against West Brom and a hand in the other two goals which killed off the Baggies.
Ancelotti insisted that Torres remains a key part of the club's plans despite not scoring now in 12 games for the defending champions.
"As we know Didier had a problem with malaria and lost a few months when he was not 100 per cent," said Ancelotti.
"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.
"He has to continue to train well, be professional, because for a player who is 33-years-old, it is important he trains, to have good control of his body, and do everything to maintain his fitness."
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 goalless 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, the Italian again said he is waiting for owner Roman Abramovich to decide.
"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."