Manchester United vs Chelsea: Blues are as good as the 2004 vintage, claims Didier Drogba


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Didier Drogba started Jose Mourinho’s first league game as Chelsea manager against Manchester United in August 2004, and more than 10 years later the veteran striker says that the current Chelsea team is as good as that league-winning side.

With the doubts over the fitness of Diego Costa for Sunday’s game against United at Old Trafford, and Loïc Rémy almost certainly out, Drogba could yet start. He scored the first goal of his second spell at the club against Maribor in the Champions League on Tuesday and says that he is almost match-fit.

Asked to compare the team that beat United 1-0 on 15 August at Stamford Bridge, through an Eidur Gudjohnsen goal, with Mourinho’s current side, Drogba said that there was little to choose. “[The current side has] different strengths. Different qualities. But is still as strong as the previous ones,” he said.

“I think Chelsea will always be at this level because of what the players before us [the current side] created. The habit of winning trophies, winning big games and being in the last four and the finals. This is a good habit. Even when we stop I think Chelsea will continue this because this is a kind of legacy.”

Drogba’s record against United is relatively poor. In 19 games against them he has scored just three goals: in the league, FA Cup and Champions League. His goal at Old Trafford in April 2010 went a long way to sealing the league title for Carlo Ancelotti’s team, although it will always be remembered by United as having been scored from an offside position.

Drogba said: “It’s up to the manager to decide who’s going to start [against United], but if you were a player how would you feel if they say you can play at Old Trafford? You’ll be happy. We’re doing a great job and to be able to enjoy these kind of moments is fantastic.”