Chelsea striker Didier Drogba can’t wait to reunite with Frank Lampard, with the latter set to welcome his former team-mates to Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium on Sunday.
Drogba and Lampard were key components of the west London club’s generation which achieved a 50-year wait for a first championship trophy in 2005 as well as a first European Cup in 2012 among many other successes.
But the 36-year-old striker returned to the ground this summer after leaving for spells in China and Turkey since scoring the decisive penalty in the Uefa Champions League final in Munich, to discover that the locker which used to belong to the club’s record goalscorer in the dressing room had been re-allocated.
Lampard moved to New York City FC after the World Cup, before being loaned to the Major League Soccer (MLS) side’s part-ownership club, Man City. His solitary appearance for the Premier League champions came in last Saturday’s draw at Arsenal but chances of featuring against his old side cannot be completely ruled out.
“It is a pity that I come back and he is not here anymore but for sure I will be happy to see him again,” said Drogba.
“I know for sure that the reaction [from the Chelsea fans] will be good. It doesn’t matter the team he is playing for, he still belongs to us, he is a Chelsea player for what he did, he is part of the history of the club.
“We are going to go there to try to win like we have been trying to win every game this season.”
Drogba has in the meantime backed Lampard to be at his usual best if selected to face his former side, where he played for 13 seasons.
“It’s going to be difficult,” Drogba added. “But I know Frank – he will do his best if he is playing.”
Costa is very good
Drogba is one of the few players in Chelsea’s current squad, who as expected will have to improve as best as possible to get starting roles. He only earned his first start in midweek’s 1-1 draw with Schalke as a result of the in-form Diego Costa’s hamstring problems.
The Ivorian himself overcame an ankle problem to earn his first start against Schalke in the midweek, but admits he has to “work hard” to feature in prominent roles in the aftermath of his below par performance against the Germans.
And with Costa, a £32m summer signing from Atletico Madrid, enjoying a “fantastic” start to life as a Chelsea player, Drogba opines tha the Brazil-born Spaniard, who has produced seven goals in his first four Premier League matches, has made a welcoming impact to the club’s title chase.
“Diego Costa is very good. For him to start the season having come from a different league and to recreate the same thing he was doing in Spain is fantastic,” Drogba said. “He is enjoying playing here and being with us and he is the striker we needed this season.
“When I look at him I can see the desire to win every challenge and to score goals. He is hungry for goals and that is the best thing for a team like us.”
He believes his experience could nonetheless become a vital component of the club’s current young crop of players.
Drogba said: “Even if the team is young, there are quite a lot of qualities and experience as well and I am here to help, and also to show them the spirit, even if I don’t have any doubt about their desire to win. I am here to help and give what I can.”