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Mourinho still seeing red ahead of big night for Blues

Jose Mourinho would listen patiently to one question relating to the ructions of Chelsea's defeat by Aston Villa and decided he had heard enough.

Didier Drogba has returned to Stamford Bridge for the first time since leaving Chelsea. Picture: Reuters
Didier Drogba has returned to Stamford Bridge for the first time since leaving Chelsea. Picture: Reuters

The Barclays Premier League leaders were beaten 1-0 at Villa Park but lost both Willian and Ramires to red cards, the latter sent off for a lunge in stoppage time.

Both players are free to play in the second leg of a Champions League last-16 tie with Galatasaray tonight, but would first feature in the media briefing with their manager. Mourinho - who was also sent to the stand on Saturday - was asked if he had a quiet word with Ramires given the reckless of his challenge. The Chelsea manager responded by looking daggers at his audience, ready to strike with all the ferocity of a tackle from his Brazilian midfielder.

"Don't you have other things to ask about that game more important than Ramires' tackle on minute 92?" asked the Portuguese, whose side drew 1-1 with Galatasary in the first leg. "You think in that game the most important thing was Ramires' tackle in minute 92? I don't want to answer, because I feel that what happened on minute 92 was a consequence of the other 92 minutes that we played before that.

"I'm sorry if I'm wrong or if you don't agree with me, but I think if you want to ask you should ask about what made that tackle happen. But that's just my opinion."

Mourinho would perhaps have used the same phrase when he contacted the FA to ask that they reconsider putting referee Chris Foy in charge of any more matches involving Chelsea. Foy has irked the London club in the past and was in charge at Villa Park at the weekend. The FA made their own feelings clear regarding the official - Foy will referee the Premier League match between Hull City and West Bromich Albion on Saturday.

It was an uncomfortable subject for the Chelsea manager but he would later settle on tonight's second leg with Galatasaray. It was an invitation for the Portuguese to look ahead to the prospect of another quarter-final in European competition but also to glance back at the good times he shared with one of the players travelling from Turkey.

Didier Drogba departed Stamford Bridge in 2012 and has since made his way to Turkey. At 36, the striker is in the twilight of his career, although he last night padded around his old stamping ground with all the excitement of a wean on holiday. The Ivory Coast internationalist will perhaps be at risk of becoming overexcited as he is welcomed back by his old manager and an appreciative home support.

"Undoubtedly, he's one of the most important players in the history of this club," said Mourinho. "All Chelsea supporters, we agree with that. We don't say the most important one because it's not fair on other people.

"Is he the same player at 36 than he was at 26? I think nobody is, but he's one of the best strikers in the world, that's for sure."

The striker intends to put his popularity at risk tonight as he endeavours to find a way past Chelsea and into the next phase of the Champions League. "With all the respect that I have for this club, for the fans and for the players, I might not celebrate [if I score], but if we win I'll be happy," said Drogba.

"It's a big game. The Champions League is a big competition and it means a lot for my team. I'll find a way to play. It's very difficult to play against Chelsea, but it's not going to be difficult for me to put myself into the competition mode."

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