Chelsea have travelled to Galatasaray ahead of their Champions League round of 16 clash on Wednesday. The majority of the pre-match talk has been about Didier Drogba, who will face his former club for the first time since his 2012 exit.
Jose Mourinho spoke to The Independent about his feelings around facing the player he brought to Stamford Bridge in 2004:
He's still good, still a threat. It will be a strange feeling playing against him because we know him so well but as a manager I have come up against him before. We played Chelsea when I was at Internazionale and he was at Galatasaray when Real Madrid played them last season. We [Real Madrid] lost in Istanbul. They had us in trouble but Galatasaray is always a difficult place to go to; the crowd is difficult too. Before the game and after the game it will be big respect for Didier, we will always be big friends because he is a real legend of the Chelsea club. But during the game we will not be friends and we know as well that Galatasaray have a very experienced team with many more big players.
With Nemanja Matic and Mohamed Salah cup-tied, Mourinho will have some tough choices to make for his starting XI.
Branislav Ivanovic, Gary Cahill, John Terry and Cesar Azpilicueta should make up the back four. Azpilicueta was singled out for praise in The Metro after his performance against Everton, as he continues to adapt well to his new role at left-back.
Per The Guardian, the Blues will be waiting on late fitness tests for the Brazilian trio of David Luiz, Oscar and Ramires ahead of this knockout tie. Both Oscar and Ramires played against Everton at the weekend, with the former withdrawn early due to an ankle problem. Luiz was unavailable due to a groin strain, but should be preferred to John Obi Mikel in the starting XI.
Oscar is unlikely to be risked for this game, opening up a space for Andre Schurrle in the trio behind the striker. While the Brazilian is better at tracking back and linking the midfield and attack, Eden Hazard and Willian have shown their adaptability in providing a similar service from the left and right flanks respectively. Schurrle’s inclusion should provide some much-needed support for the main striker.
Mourinho was caught on camera by French TV station Canal Plus this week bemoaning the lack of goalscoring strikers available to him at Stamford Bridge. According to The Guardian, Mourinho said “The problem with Chelsea is we lack a scorer. I have one [Eto'o] but he's 32. Maybe 35, who knows?” This quote makes it clear the Eto’o is his first-choice frontman from the current crop, and he should start in Istanbul.
After the last-minute goal to secure the victory against Everton at the weekend, Mourinho will want to take a significant lead back to London for the second leg. Although his comments in The Independent that he would like to win 10-0 in Turkey may have been made in jest, it is clear that he expects his side to make the advantageous nature of the draw pay dividends.
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