"Maybe now it is United who need to learn to catch up with us!"
Didier Drogba has been speaking ahead of the Manchester United v Chelsea clash on Sunday and believes the tables have turned since he fir...
Didier Drogba has been speaking ahead of the Manchester United v Chelsea clash on Sunday and believes the tables have turned since he first arrived in England. It's now United's turn to catch up with Chelsea.
If you had been asked fifteen months ago to picture the scenario United find themselves in at the moment, you wouldn't believe it. Off the pace this season, defensive frailties and no European competition, times have changed up North.
For years under Sir Alex, United were the benchmark. As a Chelsea fan, I would always say to people "If you finish above United you would be champions or thereabouts" but now, United find themselves in real trouble.
Having thrown £150m at their problems with a noticeable lack of quality investment in the heart of their defence, United have a real fight on their hands to finish inside the top four and qualify for next seasons Champions League. I can imagine their supporters will disagree but if they are honest here, they have to be fearing for their immediate future.
What if they don't qualify? What if they miss out on the extra revenue the Competition brings? Would we see more investment on a par with this past window? How long can they afford to do so?
Of course there is a flip side to all this and United do qualify, they sort out their defensive problems and take GIANT strides forward between now and the end of the season. In my eyes, they need to improve drastically to get back to the levels they have become accustomed to.
So to Drogba and quotes from him ahead of this one. Drogba spent eight years at this club and played in instrumental role, pivotal, in our successes during that time. He has witnessed first hand the rise of Chelsea as a team and the football club being established as one of the biggest in Europe.
Chelsea have sustained their form and influence on the Premier League over the last ten years and once again under Mourinho, coupled with shrewd transfer policy over recent seasons, Chelsea sit primed to fight Manchester City for the title again with a squad packed full of quality in every single position.
Drogba, speaking of the squad he has come back to and of United said:
"It’s up to the manager to decide who’s going to start. But if you were a player, how would you feel if they say, 'You can play at Old Trafford'? You’d be happy.
I’m not fully fit yet, but these kind of games helps me to improve.
We’re doing a great job and to be able to enjoy these kind of moments is fantastic. We are lucky, and if I play I will feel lucky one more time.
United are a threat. We need to go there with our strength and our belief but also we have to know that they are a good team.
I have come back to a different Chelsea. We have different strengths, different qualities but we are still as strong and as good as the previous sides.
Chelsea will always be at this level because of what the players before us created, the habit of wining trophies, winning big games and being in the last four and the finals.
This is a good habit, and so even when we retire I think Chelsea will continue this because this is a kind of legacy.
Maybe now it is United who need to learn to catch up with us - the other way round from when I first came to the club. But that’s why I say this club is very special, because in our first season together, we had to win. I don’t know if it’s like that at other clubs but we HAD to win.
We had big expectations from the start. That’s the legacy I’m talking about. You have to win at this club.’’
I fully expect the big man to start on Sunday. The fact that he has his first goal since his return will give him a boost ahead of the game despite the focus being about Diego Costa and Loic Remy being out injured.
Didier Drogba can still produce the goods and play his role in a team put together by Jose Mourinho. If he never had faith, he would never have brought him back. Old Trafford on Sunday is the perfect showcase for Drogba and you can bet your life he will love it.
As I have said here, I honestly believe United at present are no match for Chelsea and we will win this one by at least three clear goals. United are useless in defence and Chelsea will expose their weakness time and time again.
Only then, when the game is over and we travel back down South with three more important points, hopefully after putting in the level of performance we are capable of, people will see the apparent gulf in class and realise that Drogba is spot on - The tide has turned and it's their turn to catch up!