Galatasaray v Chelsea: Jose Mourinho admits facing Didier Drogba is 'a strange feeling'
The Blues' former striker will come up against his old side in Istanbul
Wednesday 26 February 2014
Jose Mourinho will attempt to thwart Chelsea favourite Didier Drogba, having spent much of the build-up to the Champions League last-16 explaining comments about his own strikers.
There are many sub-plots surrounding the first-leg tie in Istanbul, but the standout link is the first meeting with fans' favourite Drogba.
The 35-year-old left for pastures new in 2012 with his place in club folklore assured, having slotted home the penalty which won Chelsea their first ever Champions League.
The competition now offers the Ivorian the chance to face the Blues for the first time since leaving, with current club Galatasaray hosting Jose Mourinho's side in the first leg of their last-16 first-leg tie on Wednesday.
"To face Drogba, I know that is difficult and it's a strange feeling, I have to admit that," Mourinho said ahead of facing the player he managed between 2004 and 2007.
"But we have to do our job. We know he wants to do his job.
"Last year it happened the same. I want to do my job to help my team, and he tried to do his by scoring goals, which he did.
"But I admit it's a strange feeling we have to try and forget during the game."
Read more: All Mancini left at Inter Milan was a five-a-side team - Mourinho
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It may be odd but it will be a welcome return to football after having to field questions about inflammatory comments made to a businessman at a recent sponsor's event.
Footage of the private conversation was recorded by Canal Plus, in which Mourinho said: "The problem with Chelsea is I lack a striker. He is 32 years old, maybe 35, who knows?"
Mourinho was apoplectic about the remarks being broadcast, coming out swinging at the press conference.
"I think you should be embarrassed, as a media professional because from my point of view I don't think you - not you, but a colleague - (should be) able to record a private conversation, to make it public," he said.
"I think you all should be a bit embarrassed, because it's a case of the ethics you have in your work.
"From my point of view, is it an unhappy comment? Absolutely. But from the ethical point of view, I think it's a real disgrace."
While Mourinho downplayed that incident, he certainly did not mix his words when it came to facing Roberto Mancini.
The Portuguese succeeded him at the Inter Milan helm, leading them to the Champions League crown during a treble-winning season in 2010.
Former Manchester City boss Mancini claimed some of the credit for that success in an interview this week, resulting in Mourinho hitting back - and while he incorrectly added Thiago Motta to his line-up, the point still stood.
"It's funny, it's funny," he said. "It's funny because my team in the final had Lucio, Thiago Motta, Diego Milito, Samuel Eto'o, Goran Pandev and Wesley Sneijder.
"From 11 players, he didn't work with six of them. So he made a five-a-side team because I played with only five players from his team."
Away from the football, there were reports of trouble in Istanbul on Tuesday evening.
Initial reports were of an altercation between locals and Chelsea fans near Taksim Square, resulting in minor injuries being sustained but nobody left requiring hospital treatment.
However, later news filtered through that there had been two stabbings.
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