Côte D'Ivoire striker Didier Drogba will make an emotional return to the Stade Velodrome tonight determined to fire Chelsea out of their current mid-season slump. Chelsea face Marseille in their final UEFA Champions League Group F game knowing they have already finished top.
Marseille have also secured second place and although there is little to play for, Drogba maintains it is important that he and the team begin to improve. Drogba, now 32, spent just a year at Marseille, scoring 18 Ligue One goals plus another 11 in Europe in 2003/04 after arriving from EA Guingamp.
His goal record made him a cult hero among the Marseille fans and the Chelsea ace has often spoken of finishing his career back at Stade Velodrome.
"I think it is important for me and the team to play better than what we are doing now," said Drogba. "I have been sick for a few weeks. It is difficult to come back to full fitness very quickly. But I am really happy with the way I have recovered. I am trying to help the team. I know that I can do better and I have to do better. It is not really about the goals, it is the way I am playing.
"We've created a lot of chances but we score from set-pieces and penalties and this is something that will have to change. We just need one game to change this. and why not tomorrow or the game at the weekend?"
Drogba admits that a return to Marseille is a tempting prospect but insists he can also see himself ending his career at Stamford Bridge. "All I can say is that I have been at Chelsea for six years now and I am happy there," said Drogba. "My family is also happy there. Of course Marseille is tempting. But there are so many parameters that come into play. I can see myself ending my career at Chelsea."
Coach Carlo Ancelotti has demanded that his side turn on the style against Marseille. Ancelotti was clearly angered and upset by Chelsea's 1-1 draw against Everton last Saturday and told his players so in a team meeting.
The Italian coach made it clear he wants them to go back to the style of football which brought them a flood of goals and five straight wins at the start of the Premier campaign. "We are trying to search the right way to move on quickly from this moment and we have a possibility to do this tonight," said Ancelotti.
"The result of the game is not important but the performance is very important. We want to put out the best line-up possible because we consider the game important for our confidence and to come back and play our football.
"We have to come back quickly to play our football. I spoke with my players. It is not the right place to explain what I said to them. it was private and confidential. The reaction has to be good tonight."