Drogba: Manchester United can emulate Di Matteo’s Chelsea

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's impact at Old Trafford is reminding the legendary Ivorian of his own historic march to success in Europe's elite competition

Manchester United's change of fortune under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer reminds Didier Drogba of Chelsea's Champions League win in 2012 under Roberto di Matteo as the Red Devils prepare to take on Barcelona in the quarter-finals of the competition.

United endured a difficult 2018-19 campaign under Jose Mourinho, but the mood has significantly changed ever since the arrival of Solskjaer in December 2018.

They are back in the race for a top-four spot in the Premier League and shocked Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League, recording a 3-1 win at Parc des Princes after previously losing the first leg 2-0 at home. 

Chelsea found themselves in a similar situation during the 2011-12 campaign, with Di Matteo replacing Andre Villas-Boas as the man in charge ahead of the decisive stages of the season and eventually leading them to Champions League glory.

Drogba was a key part of that Chelsea team, scoring a late equaliser in the final against Bayern Munich, before eventually netting the decisive penalty, and he thinks Solskjaer could potentially repeat Di Matteo's achievement.

"Did you know I was going to do that in 2012? I didn’t. Not even me, I didn’t know [I could]," Drogba told Goal at Geneva Motorshow, courtesy of Yokohama Tyres. "Maybe someone or a team will come up, a club like Manchester United.

"From what I saw [against PSG], I have to count on them. They have spirit and quality. They have this thing of having a manager who has won it and knows how to win; this is important. It is always something different when a manager has played at the club.

"He knows the spirit, and he knows everything about the club. The players respect that. That’s exactly what happened with Di Matteo and us, and that’s what is happening with Man Utd and Solskjaer.

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"We don’t go too far [with the comparison], but I see a little bit of what we did in 2012 because they won in a place where nobody expected them to win and in a very, very good way. So, it is interesting."

United host Barcelona at Old Trafford on Wednesday, before locking horns with the Catalans at Camp Nou on April 16.

Didier Drogba

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