Former Chelsea and Leeds United defender Michael Duberry believes Didier Drogba will struggle against his old club tonight, as he expects the Blues to dominate their Champions League opponents Galatasaray.
The highlight of the knockout tie is the return of the Ivorian, who won the Champions League with Chelsea in 2012, and his reunion with manager Jose Mourinho.
Mourinho and his players have travelled to the Türk Telekom Arena in Istanbul, where they will face former Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini’s team in the first-leg.
Duberry told YouTube-based sports chat show Sportlobster TV: “I don’t think Drogba alone will haunt Chelsea. He may give his old teammates a tough time, but Chelsea will have too much for Galatasaray.
“Mancini knows Chelsea, but this is a different club to when he left. Mourinho will know how to nullify Galatasaray, which is what he is good at.”
Duberry, who made 115 appearances for Chelsea, also said the Galatasaray supporters are as frenetic as media reports suggest.
He added: “It’s one of those unbelievable atmospheres to play in. I was there with Leeds United and it is frightening, but the atmosphere is one you want to sample.
“When I went with Leeds I was worried about the crowd, we had to get the security and shields walking out the tunnel. It’ll be a hostile environment, but I am confident Chelsea will win.”
While Duberry tips a positive result in Turkey, he also believes Chelsea have performed above expectations, as they lead the pack with 60 points in a closely-fought Premier League title race.
Mourinho previously poured cold water on Chelsea’s title bid and brandished his team as a ‘little horse’, which would only be ready to compete next season.
Duberry echoed the ‘Special One’ by saying Chelsea have so far achieved more than anticipated, but he also believes they could win this year if form continues.
“What Jose Mourinho is saying is right. Chelsea are one year ahead of where they should be, but they happen to be top of the league, so everyone is saying they have got to win it,” he said.
“There have been some inconsistencies in performance and the team is not at its best yet, but they are still leading the way – this is why Mourinho is so highly rated.”
He added: “Chelsea have a young attacking line-up in Eden Hazard, Oscar and Willian and they cannot be expected to keep playing to such high standards. When they mature, they will be even better than they are now.”