Carlo Ancelotti has told FA Cup holders Chelsea their 7-0 third round thrashing of Ipswich Town will "count for nothing" if they cannot transfer their form into the Premier League.
English champions Chelsea, who did the 'double' last season, are currently fifth in the table -- nine points behind leaders Manchester United having played one game more than the table-toppers.
That has led to speculation about Chelsea manager Ancelotti's position at Stamford Bridge and, while the rout of second division Ipswich was a welcome distraction from league duty, the Italian knows the pressure will be back on if the Londoners lose to top-flight rivals Blackburn next weekend.
"We need to have this kind of performance," he said. "The result was good and we did a lot of things well in this game.
"But we don't have to be excited. We have to give the same performance next week against Blackburn. But, obviously, with this victory, our confidence will improve and we can prepare the game well.
"We have to wait to say everything is OK. We have some things we can do better, but it was important to play well today (Sunday)."
Sturridge was included in the starting line-up after Drogba suffered a minor knock in training two days before Chelsea began their bid to lift the FA Cup for a third successive season.
"Every player has to be ready when the moment arrives," Ancelotti said.
"For Daniel, he scored a lot of goals in his last game for the reserves. He deserved to play. He played well, scored, is a good player and a good striker, very dangerous.
"In the future he'll have opportunities," Ancelotti added of the England Under-21 international.
"We have a lot of games in this period coming up. I think he has to fight with the other strikers, but everyone has to fight. There are a lot of players in competition up front."
He added: I have to check game by game, but I think that they are in competition and I have to choose the best player for the squad when I do the line-up."
Drogba, Michael Essien, Florent Malouda and Ashley Cole were all omitted from the starting line-up because of injury concerns but Ancelotti expects them to return next weekend although he has worries about Patrick van Aanholt, forced out with 20 minutes to against Ipswich because of a hamstring problem.
"All the players that weren't involved today will be able to play the next game," Ancelotti said.
"They weren't big problems. Essien, Malouda, Drogba, Cole will be fit.
"Van Aanholt has a little tear on his hamstring. We don?t know how bad it is. Maybe he was a bit tired at the end."
"Whoever comes in has a very tough job," said Ipswich caretaker manager Ian McParland. "I hope he?s in by Wednesday.
"I'm not interested in my role at the minute. I'll take the team until the new man takes the team, and we'll go on from there."
Source: AFP Global Edition