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The Ivorian star admits the club have endured a ‘difficult moment’ but retains faith in his manager and has been buoyed by an encouraging performance against Newcastle

Didier Drogba has called upon Chelsea’s fractured squad to pull together as they prepare for a series of domestic and European games which could define their season.

Six defeats in all competitions have left the Blues out of the League Cup, 10 points adrift in the Premier League title race and facing an all-or-nothing battle with Valencia on Tuesday to keep their Champions League hopes alive.

This poor run has come against a backdrop of numerous reported divisions in the dressing room and mounting pressure on young coach Andre Villas-Boas, who confirmed on Saturday that striker Nicolas Anelka and defender Alex have both asked to leave the club.

Drogba admits Chelsea have endured what he calls a “difficult moment”, but the Ivorian is adamant the players remain loyal to their manager and have been encouraged by an improved performance in Saturday’s 3-0 win away at Newcastle – in which he scored the opener.

"You have to remember it's the manager's first season in the Premier League, it's not easy for him and it isn't easy for the players or the club,” the Ivorian told reporters.

"But everything is coming together for the manager. He can deal with any pressure. You don't rise to his level in coaching if you are not strong.

"Yes we've been in a difficult moment but you have to stick together and make sure that, when we are on the pitch, we are all pulling in the same direction.

“That's what we are doing right now and it's great to see. Against Newcastle we looked more like the Chelsea of old, doing the simple things well.

“You create your own luck sometimes but that only comes from the whole team being in a really positive state of mind.

“We'll have more bad moments but, if we stay together, good things will come along."

Chelsea now face Valencia on Tuesday knowing only either a goalless draw or a victory will see them through to the knockout stages, but Drogba insists he is relishing the challenge.

"We face Valencia with confidence," he added.

"It's these type of games you just love as a player. When I was a kid I used to watch huge matches like this, dreaming that I would one day play in them.

"It's going to be very exciting. Yes, the pressure is on us, we normally don't have too many problems in the group stages but this is why people love football.

“It's going to be tough, certainly a different situation from what we're used to, but in a way it will be just like some of the huge Champions League games we've had in recent years, the matches we played against Liverpool in the semi-finals, matches with so much tension around when it gets to kick-off.

“We've had challenges before and this is a new one. I'm ready to attack it."

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