Mourinho pities 'lonely' Drogba as Chelsea beat Galatasaray
Blues boss praises his side after easy Champions League win over Turkish champions
Chelsea 2 Galatasaray 0 (Chelsea win 3-1 on aggregate).
Jose Mourinho celebrated a comfortable passage into the last eight of the Champions League by declaring Chelsea to be "among the best eight clubs in the world". The Blues boss was in ebullient mood after watching his side ease past the Turkish champions at Stamford Bridge with first-half goals from Samuel Eto'o and Gary Cahill.
"To come from the Europa League [which Chelsea won last season] to the quarter-finals of the Champions League is important for the club, important for the players," said Mourinho. "We are a Champions League club and now we are among the best eight, the best clubs in the world, and we are there. The players deserve to be there."
Chelsea were confident from the start, thanks to their 1-1 draw in Istanbul last month, and the result was never in doubt after Eto'o put the home side one up on four minutes. Cahill doubled the advantage three minutes before the break when he fired home the rebound after John Terry's header was saved.
Veteran Didier Drogba, on his first return to Stamford Bridge since leaving in 2012, was unable to inspire Galatasaray, though a younger version of the Ivorian striker would have converted the chance he had in second-half stoppage time.
Drogba's best days are behind him, however, and the only thing he came away with on Tuesday night was a silver boot, presented to him by Chelsea as a token of the club's appreciation for his eight years of service. "The most difficult thing was the way his team played," said Mourinho when asked to analysis Drogba's performance. And he took what appeared like a sly dig at Galatasaray manager Roberto Mancini when he said: "When you are a striker, if your team doesn't produce attacking football, you feel like a lonely man. It happens to every striker in the world."
But Mancini, last seen on these shores in May 2013 before being sacked as manager of Manchester City, appeared to concur, but laid the blame at the door of his players rather than his tactical approach. "During the game our more experienced players did nothing," he complained afterwards. "For this reason it's difficult for me. We didn't have any players who 'played' this game...If we want to play at this level, we need to work more and do more steps [forward]."
Chelsea meanwhile are in the hat for Friday's quarter-final draw (as are Real Madrid who brushed aside Schalke on Tuesday night) and their manager is bullish about their prospects in the competition. "We wait for the draw, it doesn't matter who," declared Mourinho, who has never lost a quarter-final tie in the Champions League. "All the big candidates to win the competition are there, and we would welcome any one of them. It would be very good for our evolution as a team and very important for us to play one of the best." ·