Didier Drogba and his Galatasaray team-mates have a tough task when they try to overturn a 3-0 deficit against Real Madrid in the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final on Tuesday.
Drogba, who won the title last season with Chelsea, will take some cheer from his performance in Saturday’s domestic championship game against Mersin Idman Yurdu when he scored two second-half goals in a 3-1 win.
However, the mood at Galatasaray was soured at that game by coach Fatih Terim’s anger at refereeing decisions in a row which led to him and his two assistants being sent to the stands, overshadowing preparations for Tuesday’s return leg in Istanbul.
In Madrid last week, Galatasaray were taught “a good lesson” by the Spanish side, according to Drogba.
“We’re not at their level but I think it’s a lack of experience more than anything else,” Drogba told beIN Sport. “We’re learning, we’re a young team. There are things that need improving.
“It’s a good lesson, and one we have to show we’ve learned well in the return leg. We wanted to contain Madrid but we could have done it in a different way, with more audacity and aggression. We could have caused them problems as we had chances but that’s the way it is,” he said.
One of Galatasaray’s biggest headaches is the absence of key striker Burak Yilmaz, who is suspended after picking up a yellow card in Madrid.
Turkish media reported on Friday that the Istanbul side had applied to UEFA to have the yellow card annulled.
Galatasaray will also be missing central defender Dany Nounkeu after his booking in Madrid ruled him out.
Real romped to a 5-1 victory at home to mid-table Levante on Saturday as coach Jose Mourinho left several top performers, including forward Cristiano Ronaldo, out of his starting lineup.
Ronaldo came off the bench at halftime with Real leading 2-1 and netted his 29th goal of the La Liga campaign before setting up fellow substitute Mesut Ozil.
Centre back Sergio Ramos and midfielder Xabi Alonso both played the full 90 minutes as they are suspended for Tuesday’s game.
“It could be that we are in our best form of the season,” Ronaldo, top scorer in the Champions League this season with nine goals, told reporters. “We have a complete squad with all the players available and that is very positive news.”
On Tuesday’s game in Istanbul, he added: “It’s a tough match and our passage to the next round is not yet assured. Three goals is a big lead but we have to go there and play and at least get one goal.
“We have to take things step by step, game by game, but I think we have a good chance of getting to the final.”
Real Madrid defender Pepe is doubtful for the second leg at Galatasaray when Jose Mourinho’s side are hoping to avoid “any unpleasant outcomes” after their 3-0 win in the first match. Raul Albiol is on hand to partner Raphael Varane if Portugal’s Pepe fails to recover from injury with fellow centre back Sergio Ramos suspended.
“Pepe suffered a muscle injury during the Levante game and we will know tomorrow for sure if he will be on the pitch or not,” Mourinho told a news conference in Istanbul on Monday.
“But my team is made up of good players and Albiol will play in his position if Pepe can’t. I am confident that all players in my squad are capable.”
Meanwhile, Malaga were hit by lightning and the death of coach Manuel Pellegrini’s father as they prepared for their quarter-final second leg at Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday.
The Spaniards, who drew 0-0 in the first leg against Dortmund, slumped to a 4-2 defeat at Real Sociedad in La Liga on Saturday, with Pellegrini returning to Chile immediately after the game for the funeral.
Malaga said the coach intended to travel to Germany on Tuesday, a day later than his players. The Spaniards also had to endure a nerve-wracking flight up to the Basque Country on Friday, when their aircraft was caught in a thunderstorm. Unable to land in San Sebastian and diverted to nearby Bilbao, the plane touched down after being struck three times by lightning and the team had to finish their journey by coach.
“It was generally a weekend to forget and let’s hope we can give the coach some joy on Tuesday,” captain Weligton told reporters. Pellegrini rested a host of key players as the Qatar-owned club slipped four points behind the fourth-placed Basque club with eight games left. Centre back Weligton and midfielder Manuel Iturra both played as they are suspended for Tuesday’s game but playmaker Isco, winger Joaquin, midfielder Jeremy Toulalan and forward Javier Saviola, among others, did not feature. “The defeat is painful but we have no time to dwell on it and we have to focus on Tuesday,” forward Roque Santa Cruz told reporters.