Didier Drogba has predicted that Everton will provide stronger opposition than Manchester United did two years ago, the last time Chelsea won the FA Cup. Drogba scored the winner in extra time to beat United in 2007, and Chelsea have not won a trophy since. But the striker has made it clear that Chelsea, who are favourites to win the trophy for the fifth time in their history, will not be taking Everton lightly.
Drogba said yesterday: "I think it's going to be a more difficult game than the one against Manchester United a few years ago because everybody thinks it is going to be an easy game for Chelsea.
"But we face a team whose desire is maybe bigger than ours because they haven't won anything for a while. So we need to give everything to lift this trophy.
"I think that I have been lucky to have the honour of scoring at each of my appearances in this stadium [FA Cup final 2007, Carling Cup final 2008, FA Cup semi-final 2009]. I don't know why. I like big games, I like big stadiums and I like the atmosphere of finals, even if I have not always won them. But it is for this kind of event that you play football."
Drogba added that he was prepared to apologise for his behaviour at the end of Chelsea's Champions League match with Barcelona earlier this month. He said: "The game has gone and everything is finished. I have apologised and, if I have to, will do so again."
Guus Hiddink, Chelsea's manager, said he was confident Drogba would keep his temper under control, even if decisions go against him today. "I don't think he will explode in the same way he did," Hiddink said. "The reaction wasn't good whatsoever, but it came from the same feeling of injustice everyone had. Some people react differently. He reacted in a way he should not have, and he knows that."
For what it is worth Drogba responded to the question, 'Are you going to stay at Chelsea?' with: "People keep talking about it, that's all I say. As long as they want me, I'll be there."