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BYE TO BREMEN; BRING ON MAN U

Defeated but in the draw for the knockout stage of the Champions League. Two big names injured but reassuring medical bulletins. It was a night of confusing emotions for Jose Mourinho in Germany.

The 1-0 defeat at the hands of Werder Bremen was not enough to prevent the Premiership champions joining the last 16 in the quest to find Europe's elite.

A head-to-head comparison with the Bundesliga club that takes into account our 2-0 win at Stamford Bridge in the opening game sees to that.

Mourinho suffers the pain of defeat as acutely as anyone on planet football but as he reviewed the action on the banks of the Weser river, he looked at the campaign as a whole.

'You are never happy with a defeat but in this difficult group, to be safe with one game to go is an achievement,' he said before dissecting the reasons behind a first Champions League reverse this season.

Feet and inches played a big part, or for our Portuguese manager, metres and centimetres.

'We know the most difficult situation would be set plays because they had four or five players of two metres and we had no more than two or three players strong enough in the air to cope with it.

'When we wanted to make a change to be more offensive, I wanted to play Shevchenko, Drogba and Robben together but Drogba got injured. In the last 20 minutes when we dominated the game, we had no power in the box.

'Among their giant defenders we had Joe Cole, Wright-Phillips and Shevchenko and we didn't have a lot of power. A draw may have been a fair result but I accept Bremen fought very hard to get the three points.'

Drogba was joined in the dressing room before the end of the game by Ballack after injuries led to their substitution. With the top of the table clash with Man United just days away, the report from Mourinho was positive.

'Ballack I think is nothing special. It is just pain because a player put studs on his leg. Drogba has something in his ankle but nothing serious and normally he is ready for Sunday.'

Ballack with a volley that was saved and John Obi Mikel with header over had missed Chelsea's two most presentable chances. Mourinho had words on both.

'I don't think Ballack played a good game. Our midfield missed Lampard because he is responsible for the first phase of the game, and Ballack is more in the second phase. Lampard affects how everyone else plays in midfield.

'I wanted to play Mikel because I wanted to play in the same system that Bremen play, like at home against them when we controlled that game very well. Also these are the matches that can make him a better player.

'Today he had a positive game. I took him off because I wanted to change the game.'

It is no secret that the young Nigerian has been made to spend a spell on the sidelines due to a lack of a professional approach.

'I am pleased at least he is now never late,' smiled Mourinho. 'He is training well and now it is up to him to stay there.

'I want to help him because he has a lot of potential. Now we have to wait and see if it is a permanent change or if it is a change for the next month because he was punished.'

The Chelsea boss was asked if the taste of defeat may have a lingering effect on Sunday's big one at Old Trafford. He finished the discussion with his most positive thought of the night.

'Sunday is a different competition and it is a marathon. It is a match we look forward to and it is a pity it isn't tomorrow because it is a match we want to play.'

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Nice touch losing 1-0.. bet Barcelona are delighted... :o

I wouldn't say they are delighted, they will have one hel_l of a game to play in 2 weeks, both teams will be going for the win, while we just have to sit back, don't concede and sail through.

I will be there watching the mighty blues in action, taking my TGF to her 1st game, I hope she doesn't get too scared with all the singing and swearing!! haha

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I hope she'll enjoys it Seapok...

Now, bring on Sunday .. and may the best team win.. as long as it's us of course...

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I will be there watching the mighty blues in action, taking my TGF to her 1st game, I hope she doesn't get too scared with all the singing and swearing!! haha

Why you're not taking her in the United end are you.......?! :o:D

redrus

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I will be there watching the mighty blues in action, taking my TGF to her 1st game, I hope she doesn't get too scared with all the singing and swearing!! haha

Why you're not taking her in the United end are you.......?! :o:D

redrus

I was talking about the Sofia game at the bridge mate, I wouldn't take her to an away game in this country, she would never go again! :D

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I hope she'll enjoys it Seapok...

Now, bring on Sunday .. and may the best team win.. as long as it's us of course...

Yeah it should be a good game, I hope there is a few goals to keep her entertained, the real reason for her wanting to go is she think she will see Joe Cole up close! haha

Sunday should be a cracker, 3-2 to the MIGHTY BLUES!! :o

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I will be there watching the mighty blues in action, taking my TGF to her 1st game, I hope she doesn't get too scared with all the singing and swearing!! haha

My mrs loved the atmosphere the first time i took her to see city. In fact, she spent most of the game just watching the crowd.

And before redrus and the crowd say anything, yes, it was probably more exciting than watching city :o

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I will be there watching the mighty blues in action, taking my TGF to her 1st game, I hope she doesn't get too scared with all the singing and swearing!! haha

My mrs loved the atmosphere the first time i took her to see city. In fact, she spent most of the game just watching the crowd.

And before redrus and the crowd say anything, yes, it was probably more exciting than watching city :o

The thing is my bird is so small I hope she can see above the blokes head in front of her!! haha

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Bridge signs new Chelsea contract

Wayne Bridge has signed a new contract at Chelsea, committing himself to the Londoners for another four years.

The defender, 26, had been linked with a move away from the club after failing to secure a regular first-team place ahead of summer signing Ashley Cole.

But, after featuring in seven league games so far this season, he has committed his future to the champions.

"I feel like I'm playing well this term," he said. "I think I'll continue to get chances and so I'm delighted."

Bridge joined the club in 2003 from Southampton but was sent out on loan to Fulham last season.

It's been a terrific week however, after recovering from a broken leg, the left-back has forced his way back into Jose Mourinho's first-team reckoning this campaign.

The new contract come just days after Bridge's partner Vanessa gave birth to a boy and he said: "It's been a terrific week."

The England international, who had 18 months left on his previous deal, is expected to return to the Chelsea squad for Sunday's match against Manchester United having missed the Champions League defeat to Werder Bremen.

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Chelsea plot to overtake Man Utd

Peter Kenyon says Chelsea are on their way to overtaking Manchester United as the world's biggest football club, ahead of their crunch game on Sunday.

Blues' chief executive Kenyon also said they will have to quit Stamford Bridge.

"By 2014 we want to be internationally recognised as the number one club," he said. "But I think it's pretty clear we can't get to where we want to here."

But United winger Cristiano Ronaldo hit back, saying Chelsea would fall apart if boss Jose Mourinho left the club.

He said: "Mourinho is a great coach and he is Portuguese, so I can't speak badly of him.

Sunday is not the deciding game, as much as we try to build it up

"I would like to see what would happen if he were to leave Chelsea. Perhaps they would stop getting good results."

United go into Sunday's Old Trafford showdown three points clear of champions Chelsea and Ronaldo believes that while United have improved from last season, the Blues have not moved forward.

"Chelsea are about the same as last year," added Ronaldo. "Andriy Shevchenko and Michael Ballack haven't changed them in terms of their superiority to everybody else.

"They have to work harder to win games and they only just do enough to win.

"The rivalry between us and Chelsea exists, but there isn't the same passion as the Manchester derby games or matches against Arsenal or Liverpool."

Kenyon, meanwhile, does not think Sunday's eagerly-anticipated contest will have any bearing on the outcome of this season's Premiership title.

"Sunday is not the deciding game, as much as we try to build it up," added Kenyon. "I think we still have a long way to go in the season.

"I think the team is the best team we've had in the three years I've been here.

"In depth, I think the squad is tremendous, and I don't actually think we've seen the best of Chelsea at this stage in the season."

United's Dutch goalkeeer Edwin van der Sar, however, reckons it is the biggest game of the season.

"It doesn't get much bigger than this," said Van der Sar.

"When we played them at home last season we were 10 points behind, now we are three ahead, so it goes without saying we are in a better position.

"I am sure everybody will put what happened against Celtic on Tuesday to the back of their minds and be ready to try and get the result we want against Chelsea."

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I can think of a word for Peter Kenyon....! :o

redrus

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I can think of a word for Peter Kenyon....! :o

redrus

I'm not to keen on the bloke myself, he gives you a feeling of someone who would stab you in the back for an extra £££

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Ranieri backs Blues staying power

Claudio Ranieri believes defeat by Chelsea could deal a fatal blow to Manchester United's title ambitions.

Ranieri says Sunday's game at Old Trafford is crucial to United's Premiership hopes, even though they are three points clear at the top.

"If Manchester United lose, they might also lose conviction and belief," the former Chelsea boss told BBC Sport.

"Chelsea can lose and they will still fight to the end of the season. They expect to win the Premiership again."

Ranieri, who managed Chelsea from 2000 to 2004, added: "United don't have that same belief after missing out for the last few seasons.

"So this is a very important match for them. If they win, it will give them even more ambition. If they lose it could deflate them."

Shevchenko is a fantastic player and will score a lot of goals by the end of the season

The 55-year-old believes Chelsea are finding their best form after a difficult start to the season.

"At the start of the season, the change from 4-3-3 to a diamond formation was a little difficult for the players," he said.

"When you change the system, it's very difficult to do everything well.

"Michael Ballack and Andriy Shevchenko also arrived from foreign leagues. Sometimes when a player changes countries he needs six or seven months to adjust.

"Shevchenko is a fantastic player and will score a lot of goals by the end of the season.

"And Ballack is slowly, slowly getting better. Now there is good movement between him and Lampard in midfield. Now Chelsea are playing well and they're winning."

But another player has impressed Ranieri most of all.

"Drogba has been fantastic. It also took him time to adapt to the Premiership, but now he looks like he was designed to play in England.

"He is so strong, fast and powerful."

Ranieri thinks the title race is already a straight fight between Chelsea and United.

"I think it will be a fight between them this season," he said.

"I'm not surprised that United have come back so strongly this season.

"They had a very good start, which was so important. Scholes has come back and is a fantastic player.

"Solskjaer also returned after a long time out and I think that lifted the whole squad. And the young players like Ronaldo have also got more experience."

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Didier: I'm top Drog

Chelsea striker Didier Drogba says he is better than Arsenal star Thierry Henry this season.

Drogba has been in blistering form for The Blues this term netting eight Premiership goals, while Henry has six strikes to his name.

Chelsea's Ivory Coast superstar does not believe he is getting the respect he deserves and that people - especially computer game makers - should take note.

"I relax when I play computer games," explained Drogba. "I have fun playing as Henry and shooting wide of the goal! I'm kidding.

"It just seems my virtual copy doesn't play as well as the Henry character - although in real life, especially this season, I'm better than him."

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