Didier Drogba’s performance at Old Trafford last season was nothing short of shameful. In fact, the Ivorian’s contribution was such a joke, he was even laughing at it himself. I remember thinking at the time, if it wasn’t blatantly obvious there was already a sniper in the crowd, I’d shoot the bugger myself.
Still, according to Drogba, he’s ready to right that particular wrong. Ahead of this afternoon’s game, Drogba says “It’s not about revenge, but I want to make up for last season’s embarrassment. I didn’t play well that game. It was the third game in a row I’d played after a long period without many games. I had a bad game, the whole team had a bad game, but since then things have changed and the team is in a different shape. The players are the same, but mentally we’re in a different position. We’re two points in front now and have to maintain the gap, or create a bigger one.”
And it’s clear from his form this season, there’s definitely been a change of heart. So what’s happened to change the striker’s attitude? Well, according to Drogba it wasn’t his Champions League ban or his face all over the press that shamed him – it was his eight-year old son. Of his son’s reaction to his European antics, Drogba says “I don’t always worry about what people think, but on this occasion it was really important to come out and apologise because of kids watching the games. My son was watching with his friends from school and I was embarrassed by my behaviour. The good thing was that Isaac came to me and said, ‘It’s not right what you did, Dad, you should have had more penalties, but it’s not right to do that to referees.’ I told him never to do what I did. He’s 8 and plays for Chelsea Under-9s, but is very different to me. He’s really calm.”
It seems the Ivorian’s not completely oblivious to the image he portrays either because he goes on “I’ve always been very emotional, but don’t really know why. My parents are very calm and quiet people, as am I in private, but when I’m on the pitch I’m different. Sometimes I see videos of matches and think, ‘Did I really do that?’ You’re kind of aware you’re doing it at the time, but when you sit on your sofa watching the game you think, ‘Was it really that bad?’ It was really difficult after the Barcelona game because I made a mistake, but was frustrated that people didn’t understand why I reacted. I apologised and everything, but I also wanted to show I’m not the person people think I am. I’m not a bad guy, I just want to win and sometimes I react. The passion drives me. It’s a part of my behaviour I need to improve, but people are human beings.”
As long as he keeps playing the way he’s playing this season, the new attitude works for me!