Departing Chelsea striker Didier Drogba has shed light on the manner in which former manager Andre Villas-Boas was dismissed in March, reaffirming that senior players had no involvement in the matter.
Villas-Boas was relieved of his responsibilities merely eight months into what was initially intended to be a long-term project, with the aggressive changes he made to the team selection policy identified as a key factor.
The Blues were in the midst of a disastrous Premier League campaign and awaited a critical FA Cup match days before his departure.
Most importantly, his decision to rest the likes of Frank Lampard, Michael Essien, and Ashley Cole in the first leg of the Round of 16 clash with Napoli left the Stamford Bridge outfit trailing 3-1.
Lampard, in particular, was left feeling extremely low on the Blues bench and Villas-Boas was shown the door before it was too late.
His assistant Roberto Di Matteo famously turned it all around by leading the club to an FA Cup and UEFA Champions League double, with veterans Lampard and Drogba leading the way.
There has continued to be talk that the club’s old guard of players played an instrumental role in Villas-Boas’ exit but Drogba has emphasized that it was purely a managerial decision.
“When we win games everyone says the senior players are doing well, when we don’t win, they’re old. When the manager is sacked, they sacked the manager,” Drogba started off in his exit interview at ChelseaFC.com.
The 34-year old free agent added: “But I really think that when a manager goes, it’s because he sat with the owner or with the board and they have decided they have some objectives to achieve and if they don’t do it, then that gives the reason to the boss to do what we has to do.
“But never a player. I am a player and I will never want some players to have an influence on the manager, it is not good for the team. It is not good for the team at all.”
When asked if Di Matteo should be given the Chelsea manager’s job on a permanent basis, Drogba maintained his stance on keeping out of managerial matters; while praising the Italian immensely, he refrained from getting involved too much in the discussion.
“I think he [RDM] will speak with the board and the boss to do what is good for him and for the club. No matter what happens, he made history.
“There are no other words. No matter what happens, if he stays or not, he is a Chelsea legend. The job he did was great, and exceptional,” he concluded.