Mourinho salutes Drogba

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Published: Thursday 4th December 2014 by The News Editor

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Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho lauded Didier Drogba’s longevity as the Ivory Coast striker rolled back the years in an influential showing in Wednesday night’s 3-0 victory over Tottenham.

Spurs were bidding for a first win at Stamford Bridge since February 1990 at the 28th attempt and began well, with Harry Kane hitting the crossbar with an early header.

Chelsea stepped up with two goals in four first-half minutes, with Drogba providing the first for Eden Hazard before scoring himself as his second spell shows signs of enhancing his legendary status at the club.

The 36-year-old’s replacement, Loic Remy, added a third in the second half.

“It’s remarkable,” said Mourinho, who expects Drogba to see out his playing career at Chelsea before staying on at the club in some capacity.

“First of all he’s a team player. After that he’s one of these old days mentality. Not selfish, not vain. A humble guy, who plays for the team, fights for the team. Fantastic.”

Mourinho brought Drogba, who scored the decisive penalty in the 2012 Champions League win, back to Chelsea after two years away, in China and Turkey.

The Portuguese added: “I was expecting exactly this. The important thing is that he’s here and he’s going to finish his career with Chelsea.

“It looks, for me, that he’s going to stay doing other things when he finishes his career.

“It will be his decision when he decides when to stop as a player. It will be something personal.”

Drogba was deputising for the suspended Diego Costa, who was serving a one-match ban.

“We need (Costa), but I think our mentality is the right mentality,” Mourinho added.

“We don’t have a player, we don’t cry about it. We give confidence to the others and the others respond.”

Nemanja Matic will be suspended for Saturday’s match at Newcastle but Mourinho added: “No problem. Play another one, like Diego Costa.

“Did you remember Diego Costa today? I didn’t. We give confidence to the other people. We don’t cry when other people can’t play.”

Gary Cahill had to come off at half-time after a clash of heads in the first half, with his replacement Kurt Zouma impressing.

“No concussion, no need for special care,” Mourinho said.

“He was just feeling maybe afraid of heading the ball. When a player is a bit afraid it was not good. It was a good opportunity for Zouma under pressure.

“He’s playing very well every time he plays. I’m so happy with his evolution since he arrived. He will be a big player for Chelsea for many years.”

Gary Lineker scored the winner when Spurs last won at Stamford Bridge and Kane, born more than three years later, appeared to be on a crusade to emulate the England striker turned Match of the Day presenter.

A Spurs goal never came, though, and Chelsea capitalised.

Mourinho added: “Every game is a separate event. It doesn’t matter what happened five, 10 or 20 years ago. It doesn’t play a part.

“Obviously it’s a long time. I think Lineker is happy with that.”

Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino insisted the history did not weigh heavily on his side as he rued Chelsea’s cutting edge.

Pochettino said: “The history here was difficult, but tonight we came here to get the three points and victory. We showed our intention at the beginning of the game.

“We showed that we believed we could get a positive result, but it’s difficult. We started very well and created some chances.

“The first chance they created, they scored. The second chance, the second goal.

“I am not happy. I am very disappointed with the result, because 3-0 is harsh. (But) we need to look forward.”

Had Kane’s early header gone in, rather than hit the woodwork, things might have been different.

“If you score the game change for our side,” Pochettino added.

“We need to accept we have been beaten by a very good team, playing in a very comfortable situation.

“For us it wasn’t easy to turn to the result. We tried. It was difficult. It wasn’t our night tonight.”

Published: Thursday 4th December 2014 by The News Editor

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