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Mourinho eager for Drogba reunion

12 Dec 2013 14:31:57

Mourinho eager for Drogba reunion

Jose Mourinho would accept a trip to "hell" in order for Galatasaray's former Chelsea striker Didier Drogba to feel the love of Stamford Bridge.

Immediately after Chelsea secured top spot in Group E with a 1-0 defeat of Steaua Bucharest, setting up a last-16 duel with one of five teams - Bayer Leverkusen, Olympiacos, Zenit St Petersburg, AC Milan and Drogba's Galatasaray - Mourinho insisted he favoured being paired with the Turkish side in Monday's draw.

The Portuguese, whose Real Madrid side lost 3-2 in Turkey in last season's quarter-finals but progressed on aggregate, knows Galatasaray would be a daunting draw.

Mourinho told Chelsea TV: "It would be very difficult, especially in Galatasaray. It's hell.

"It's very difficult to play there. I played there last season with Real.

"But I think Didier deserves to come here and to feel the passion and the respect. I would love that. Bring the king back to Stamford Bridge."

Chelsea have struggled to adequately replace Drogba, who scored 157 goals in 341 appearances and whose final act in Chelsea blue was netting the decisive penalty in the 2012 European Cup final.

Demba Ba was deployed up front against Steaua and scored the winning goal, but Mourinho was more concerned with the chances the Senegal striker spurned.

"Could get more," said Mourinho of Ba, who has just one Premier League goal this term.

"He got his goal, it's a good feeling for him. He never played in the Champions League before; this is the first season he has played.

"And he has two goals in the Champions League, which is nice for him. More goals in the Champions League than in the Premier League."

Chelsea's focus returns to domestic duty for the next few months, beginning with Saturday's Premier League clash with Crystal Palace.

It is an opportunity for the Blues to forget last weekend's loss at Stoke and recover momentum ahead of another London derby, at Arsenal on December 23.

Mark Schwarzer will return to the substitutes' bench on Saturday after the goalkeeper made his Champions League debut aged 41 against Steaua in place of Petr Cech.

Schwarzer, who signed from Fulham in the summer and made both his previous Chelsea appearances in the Capital One Cup, was given the opportunity in a meaningful game to show he was trusted, Mourinho said.

The Australian, who played in the 2006 UEFA Cup final with Middlesbrough and the 2010 Europa League final with Fulham, said on uefa.com: "It was a huge game for me and I am grateful to the manager for giving me the opportunity to fulfil a lifetime's ambition by playing in the Champions League.

"My wife always says I'm unemotional but I was elated afterwards to have taken part.

"It was a good game to play in. We had to be on our toes and be conscious of their counter-attacking ability. We didn't capitalise on the opportunities we had and that meant we had to be 100 per cent focused at the other end.

"It was important for us to finish top of the group and now we've got to make the most of it."

Schwarzer is eager to know what awaits Chelsea in the first knock-out round.

He added: "Monday's draw is extremely exciting. I've always watched from afar with these things and I feel very privileged to be involved this time.

"I'm loving the journey thus far and really enjoying the expectation of winning every single game. I want to win trophies - that's why I came to Chelsea."


PA

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