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Carvalho targets United scalp

Ricardo Carvalho


Ricardo Carvalho has called on his Chelsea team-mates to silence their critics at Old Trafford on Sunday.

The Blues face a crunch top-of-the-table clash with Manchester United this weekend, with both sides looking to make up ground in the Premier League title race.

Chelsea are currently three points behind league leaders Liverpool, while United are seven points off the pace with two games in hand.

There promises to be fireworks when the two giants meet live on Sky Sports 1, with Portuguese centre-half Carvalho adamant that Luiz Felipe Scolari’s side are in the right frame of mind to claim three priceless points in their bid to reclaim the top-flight crown.

“This week I’ve noticed a different atmosphere in the training sessions,” he said in the Daily Star.

“The squad is adamant that we will not fail at Old Trafford and know we’ll have to produce the best football of our season to win.

“It does not bother me that people consider Manchester United to be the favourites.



January 9, 2009 Posted by | Latest News | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Scolari welcomes Terry return

John Terry


Chelsea boss Luiz Felipe Scolari is delighted to welcome John Terry back from suspension this weekend.

The Blues head to Manchester United on Sunday for what promises to be a crunch clash between two sides desperate to get their hands on the Premier League title.

Both Chelsea and United currently sit off the pace in their efforts to claim the crown, but know victory over one of their closest rivals will considerably strengthen their cause.

Scolari’s side have been quick to play down reports of dressing room rifts in the build-up to the game, while there have been plenty of positive noises coming out of Stamford Bridge as they gear up for a trip to Old Trafford.

The return of their inspirational skipper has undoubtedly helped to lift morale in the camp, with Terry set to be handed an immediate return to first-team action following three games spent on the sidelines serving a ban.

“It’s important for us because it is our captain, it is a man that has an important position on the pitch, he is a leader and plays very well every game,” said Scolari.


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Joe Cole


Chelsea manager Luiz Felipe Scolari insists England midfielder Joe Cole will be staying at Stamford Bridge for the long term.

Tottenham are understood to be monitoring Cole’s situation at Stamford Bridge but the Brazilian is determined to hang on to the 27-year-old.

Cole has 18 months left on his deal at the club and has yet to be reassured he will be given a new one.

Talks about an extension to his current contract were put on hold earlier this season and Cole is thought be concerned about his long-term future.

Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp is hoping to exploit the situation in the summer.

Ideally, Redknapp would like to try to sign him this month but knows he will have a better chance at the end of the season.

Cole is understood to have grown frustrated at being constantly replaced by Scolari this season and has only completed a full 90 minutes on one occasion.

That was against Manchester United in September and he showed his disappointment when he was taken off for the 12th game in a row against Southend in the FA Cup last Saturday.

But when asked whether Cole will be at the club in the long term, Scolari declared: “Yes, he will.

“He is a fantastic player and important for the club and for me. He scores many goals and his future is here.”


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Frank Lampard


Chelsea’s England midfielder Frank Lampard has warned his team-mates they cannot afford any more basic defensive errors when they face Manchester United on Sunday.

The Blues’ indifferent form in recent weeks has seen them slip three points behind leaders Liverpool at the Barclays Premier League’s summit.

Defeat against Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday could leave them six points adrift of the Reds, who face struggling Stoke.

Chelsea have been working on defending from set-pieces in training this week as coach Luiz Felipe Scolari attempts to stamp out errors that are beginning to cost his team dearly.

“The errors have been very frustrating for everyone involved because we do work on them in training anyway,” Lampard said.

“Sometimes it has been an individual error or a collective one, but it has been very important because we have dominated the last two games and we lost out on a set-piece in the final minute each time.

“We can’t afford to let that happen against a team of Manchester United’s calibre.”

Chelsea have conceded costly goals against Liverpool, Roma, Arsenal, Bordeaux and West Ham during the past three months.

Late goals in their last two games against Fulham and Southend have increased Scolari’s concerns.

Chelsea squandered 15 chances to kill of plucky Southend in their FA Cup third-round tie last weekend and Scolari initially focused on their poor finishing.

However, the Brazilian coach has now turned his attentions to the opposite end of the pitch with more emphasis on defending free-kicks, throw-ins and corners.

Clint Dempsey was unmarked when he headed an unlikely last-gasp equaliser for Fulham and Ricardo Carvalho’s poor header allowed Peter Clarke to earn Southend a third-round replay at Roots Hall next week.

Scolari has now added England Under-21 defender Michael Mancienne to his squad after a two-month loan spell with Wolves.

The Brazilian wants the youngster, who has just turned 21, to remain part of his first-team squad.

But Mancienne has not ruled out a further loan period in the build-up to the Under-21 European Championships this summer.

Mancienne is certain to be part of England’s squad for the competition and he said: “I need match fitness coming up to the Championships.

“But I am now where I wanted to be at 21 – around the Chelsea first team but also playing first-team football as well by going on loan and getting experience.

“I have the experience now of playing pressure football, football with lots of fans and the expectation to win games, so that has matured my game.”

Chelsea will welcome back captain John Terry for the trip to Old Trafford. The defender has missed the last three games through suspension after being sent off against Everton.

Midfielder Michael Ballack is also available again after serving a one-match ban against Southend in the FA Cup.


January 9, 2009 Posted by | Latest News | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment