Jose hoping for Drogba reunion

12 December 2013 06:16

Jose Mourinho hopes Chelsea are drawn against Didier Drogba's Galatasaray in the last-16 of the Champions League after securing top spot in Group E with a lacklustre 1-0 win over Steaua Bucharest.

The Turkish champions are one of five teams Chelsea could play in the first knockout round, with Mourinho hoping Drogba, whose penalty earned the 2012 European Cup for the Blues, can make a hero's return to Stamford Bridge.

Mourinho, who returned for a second spell at Chelsea in the summer and was given a rousing reception for the first match of his second spell in charge, said: "He (Drogba) deserves to come here and get a reception like I did against Hull City.

"I know what I felt and I think he deserves that. Yes, Galatasaray is difficult, it's very difficult, but I would like Didier to be back here and feel what I felt."

The Blues had already qualified for the last 16 prior to the final match of the group campaign against already eliminated Steaua and secured top spot in Group E - and with it a more favourable draw - courtesy of Demba Ba's early goal in a display which will not have Europe's elite cowering for cover.

"It was not a fantastic performance, but it was solid, it was comfortable," said Mourinho, whose side finished ahead of Schalke, who advanced ahead of Basle with victory over the Swiss.

"It's enough. We did enough to win without any kind of difficult moment.

"I think if we score the second goal we jump to another (level of) performance and at the same time in the second half when we knew Schalke were winning 2-0 we knew that only one point was enough for us.

"From that moment we just had to control the situation."

Mourinho again insisted his side are not among the leading contenders for the trophy - defending champions Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Real Madrid are the favourites, the Portuguese believes - and although pleased to secure an 'easier' passage, insists his side's possible opponents are all challenging.

The last-16 draw takes place on Monday, with Bayer Leverkusen, Galatasaray, Olympiacos, Zenit St Petersburg and AC Milan potential opponents for Chelsea.

"Of course we look to the top ones that won the groups and you see they're the main candidates to win the competition," Mourinho added.

"But in the second position we have difficult teams. We have champions. We have the Russian champions, we have the Greek champions.

"We have a German team, Leverkusen, as a German team, is always difficult. We have the Turkish champions with King Didier (Drogba).

"And Milan is Milan. They only won seven times. It's hard.

"And when it goes to the knockout phase things become very tactical one way, very emotional by another way. It will be always difficult.

"The fact the second game is at home means nothing. I don't care if the second game is away or at home."

The knockout stages of Europe's elite competition is new territory for some in the Chelsea squad.

"We have to grow up, step by step, go now to two matches that are new matches for some of my players," Mourinho said.

"For some of them it will be a different scenario. It will be a new thing.

"Let's go for the last 16. If we win the last 16 and go to the quarter-final, in the quarter-final, only eight teams. We can think in a different way.

"The next stage is last 16, wait for the result of the draw, forget about the Champions League until 2014, February, March and let's work to improve the team and to get results in the English competitions.

"And when we get results in the English competitions we are preparing ourselves for the next stage of the Champions League."

Mourinho and his players were hit by laser pens from the away end throughout the match, but the Portuguese played the incidents down.

He added: "During the game I felt (the laser) a couple of times, but it's not a big deal.

"I cannot be worried with that. I felt the green, I felt no pain, so I kept going."

Steaua now hold an unwanted UEFA Champions League record of 23 games in the competition without a win and boss Laurentiu Reghecampf said: "We played quite a good game here. We had two or three chances to equalise.

"Overall I'm actually quite happy with the performance.

"I was happy with everybody's performance tonight."

Source: PA