Didier Drogba has questioned whether Chelsea have as many “leaders” in their squad as they did during his time at Stamford Bridge.
The 37-year-old won his fourth title with the Blues last season but has seen his old club stutter since leaving to join Major League Soccer side Montreal Impact in the summer.
Jose Mourinho’s men are just three places above the relegation zone after losing seven of their opening 13 games, with a 12-point gap to Arsenal in fourth.
“I don’t like to compare things to when I was there, but there are some facts that you can’t hide,” Drogba was quoted as saying by The Sun at the launch of his new book, Commitment.
“During my time at Chelsea we had a lot of leaders in the team, not only last year but during the previous seasons.
“There was Frank Lampard, Petr Cech, John Terry, myself, Michael Ballack, Michael Essien, Andriy Shevchenko, Claude Makelele – big names, big players and big characters.
“We could take responsibility for a result and change the situation in bad moments such as when there was a change of manager or when we had bad results.
“There was always someone to step up and say, ‘Guys, we need to do something’ and everybody would follow.
“JT is still there but on your own it is very difficult, so other players have to come up with this mentality.
“But it’s not something you are born with – you build it within you.
“You have to make sure that it is the right moment to talk and to take the lead and, most importantly, the rest of the team has to accept you as a leader.
“When you stand up and say, ‘Let’s go and win’ you have to make sure that you produce yourself – you can’t be a leader if you are not the first to show that you have the determination to want to win.
“I think there are some leaders in this current squad and hopefully you will soon see that.”
Drogba on Costa
Chelsea have shown signs of a revival this week – following up a narrow victory over Norwich with a 4-0 success against Maccabi Tel Aviv – but frustration was evident during a half-time bust-up between striker Diego Costa and manager Mourinho in Israel.
Drogba believes Costa will come to realise the need to keep his cool and has backed his former boss to reverse Chelsea’s fortunes.
“I have also had some passionate moments in my career,” the Ivorian said. “It’s what football creates in difficult moments.
“I was lucky to have players who helped me, who were always there to support me and give me advice.
“They helped me to change my relationship with the fans, to focus more on my game and to save my energy for the football.
“You need to be strong but you also need to be smart. Diego will learn that this might not be the best way for him to change things.”
Drogba added: “When you listen to Jose you know he has the ability to change things.
“It’s not easy for me to see Chelsea in this position but I know they have the players to change that situation.
“It’s difficult when you are not used to being in the bottom half of the table but the results this week will give them a lot of confidence to come back.”