The Ivory Coast international and Chelsea legend, Didier Drogba has revealed the conversation he had with Manchester United manager, Jose Mourinho, during their time at Stamford Bridge helped to save his career at the West London club ,beyond a difficult debut season.
Drogba joined Chelsea from Marseille and the meteoric rise from France’s second division to the bright lights of London left him scared.
the player end up spending eight years at the club – scoring the winning penalty in the Champions League final with his last kick before moving to China.
Drogba said that his Blues career could have been over before it had even got started, but Mourinho saved it by telling him that “I would go to war with you”
“The only time I doubted myself was the time I moved from Marseille to Chelsea,” Drogba told The Sun.
“Two and a half years earlier I was a sub in the French second division.
An inspiring speech from Mourinho in 2005 stopped Drogba in his tracks as he considered heading for the exit door, prompting the striker to make a U-turn that changed the course of Chelsea’s history and shaped him into one of the finest forward’s of the Premier League era.
“There was a time after the first season I was looking for that comfort zone, which means going back to Marseille to be the only striker with the team playing for you,” he said.
“And then, boom, suddenly I was at a club who became one of the biggest in the world. A new country, new culture…and I was like ‘hmmm, is not all too fast for me? Can I make it here? Is it too much?’
“I was a bit scared to fail and after my first difficult year at Chelsea I spoke to Jose Mourinho and told him ‘I’m not happy here. Maybe this is not for me and I need to leave.’
“But he was saying ‘no, you have to stay. I will help you.’
“Everything had been so comfortable for me in France and after that first season in England I was looking for that comfort zone again, which meant going back to Marseille and being the only striker.
“And then I heard the manager saying something really interesting to all the players.
“He said ‘if you want to be the only king then go back to the team where you were playing before and score 100 goals.
“But here at Chelsea there are 22 kings, so you have to accept that and work together. Or you go’.
“That’s when I understood that Chelsea were giving me the challenge to go beyond what I had already done.
“That’s when I knew I needed to improve and it’s why I became the player I was.
“It was a special relationship with Mourinho and it really boosted my confidence when he would tell me ‘I would go to war with you’.
“Coming from the guy who had won the Champions League and was at the top of the English game really meant a lot.”
Drogba scored 164 goals in 381 games for Chelsea and won four Premier League titles, FA cup and the 2012 Champions League