Chelsea striker Didier Drogba has asked for more time to adapt to a different style of playing in his second spell at Stamford Bridge, after failing to deliver the goods against Schalke in the Champions League.
Blues boss Jose Mourinho decided to rest strike star Diego Costa and give Drogba his first start since rejoining Chelsea in the summer, but he missed one gilt-edged chance in particular as Schalke surprisingly left West London with a credible 1-1 draw.
Drogba told the Evening Standard that he needs time to get up to speed with his new Chelsea team-mates, including £27m playmaker Cesc Fabregas.
Diesel engine needs extra care
The Ivory Coast international was also at pains to insist he's also still battling back to full fitness after picking up an ankle injury in pre-season, stating: “I’m like a diesel — I need time.
“For the first game, my legs were okay. The good thing is I had no pain in the ankle and I can start working, training and improving my condition.
“Eden and Cesc are good players. I still need time to understand their game. They bring a lot to the team, their pace and vision is amazing.
“We are always going to create chances so that is why we have to defend well as a team and hope for those players to create assists or score a goal.”
Can Drogba still cut it at the top level?
The 36-year-old is nothing short of a Chelsea legend, but sentiment won't get him in Mourinho's team and Blues have every right to be concerned that the goals may dry up if Costa can't stay fit and firing for three matches a week.
Mourinho admitted after the frustrating Schalke draw that Costa's hamstring problems will likely mean he's only able to start one a week until that situation improves.
Loic Remy was clearly drafted in just before deadline day with that worry in mind, although Drogba was preferred to the French international yesterday.
Drogba is a proven predator at the highest level and his status as a Chelsea hero is not in question, but on the basis of last night's showing his ability to contribute for the Blues this season certainly is, on the pitch at least.