Monday, May 28, 2007

Total respect for Mourinho

Colin Calderwood: Total respect for Mourinho
By Andy Tilley, PA Sport

Nottingham Forest manager Colin Calderwood is hoping some of the 'Special One's' sheen rubs off when the Reds do battle with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

The sides meet in an FA Cup fourth-round clash on Sunday with Forest currently lying third in the Coca-Cola League One table, separated by Jose Mourinho's Barclays Premiership aristocrats by 44 places on the league ladder. Calderwood knows the odds are against his City Ground outfit embarrassing their top-flight opponents. But, only three years into his managerial career, he has his fingers crossed he can pick up some tricks of the trade from opposite number Mourinho, who declared himself to be the "special one" when he joined the London club from Porto in June 2004. "My coaching staff and I - as well as the players - will take a lot of things out of this weekend's experience."Colin CalderwoodAnd Calderwood, who arrived on the banks of the River Trent after cutting his teeth at Northampton, said: "I have never met Jose Mourinho and I do not think you should style yourself on anyone else, but my coaching staff and I - as well as the players - will take a lot of things out of this weekend's experience.

"It will be a wonderful occasion for my coaching staff and I hope it will make us better professionals. "Just to try and understand Jose Mourinho and Chelsea's mentality and to pick up bits and pieces down there will be very valuable. "Jose Mourinho has his own style, but what he has done is back up what he has said with fantastic success. "You have obviously got to have total respect for the man." Calderwood's approach is to preach calmness and confidence heading into the game, which he believes his side have a chance of winning regardless of the pronouncements of pundits and the form book. He said: "We cannot allow the nervous energy surrounding the game fatigue us because we need to make sure we are still in the game with 30 minutes gone. "We must stay switched on, because there will be times in the game when we will be forced to defend, but I strongly believe we have got the players and we've got the way of playing that could fashion a chance at Chelsea. "Or maybe we will get that element of luck you sometimes need to score a goal. "The underdogs have always got a chance in the FA Cup and hopefully we can score a goal at a point in the game when it will have a real effect on the result." Meanwhile, Calderwood is also hoping to renew acquaintances with former Forest loanee John Terry, although the injury jinx the pair share is likely to keep the Chelsea and England captain on the sidelines. Terry, who has yet to fully recover from the back troubles which laid him low midway through December, made six appearances as a 19-year-old on loan at the Reds in 2000. Jose MourinhoThe young prospect lined up in the centre of the Forest defence alongside the experienced Calderwood who was, by then, approaching the twilight days of a 19-year professional playing career. "Losing John Terry has been a massive blow for Chelsea," said Calderwood. "I remember playing alongside him in what was my last game for Forest. "It was against Birmingham at St Andrews and we won 1-0, but I got injured in the game and went to Notts County after that. "Even at that time, John Terry was a very strong individual and he made a difference to the senior blokes in training because he was so committed and physical. "You could see he could go on to be outstanding and he reminded me very much of the young Sol Campbell at Tottenham. "Experience is an advantage in football of course but, if you are a young player who can play in high-profile games and games with a high level of physical contact then you have a very bright future in front of you and both those players have gone on to realise that."

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Mourinho in Shevchenko challenge

Mourinho in Shevchenko challenge
Jose Mourinho (left) and Andriy Shevchenko
Mourinho (left) wants a lot more from Shevchenko next season
Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has told Andriy Shevchenko he must prove he can play in the Premiership next season.

The Ukrainian, 30, scored four Premiership goals in his first season after arriving for £30m from AC Milan.

"Will he be a Chelsea player next season? He has a contract. If he wants to try everything to improve, of course he will," said Mourinho.

"It's up to him, hopefully he is not happy with what he gave to the team, if he's not happy that's a start."

A hernia operation will rule Shevchenko out of the FA Cup final, and Mourinho added: "Sheva's season was not what everyone was thinking, including myself.

"In his defence he has a history of many years in a completely different culture, that can be on his side."

In contrast to Shevchenko, Mourinho was full of praise for his striker partner Didier Drogba.

Drogba scored 32 goals - including 20 in the Premiership - to become the first Chelsea player in 20 years to lift the Golden Boot.

Mourinho said: "He deserves the Golden Boot, to be top scorer in the Premiership without taking penalties is more than deserved.

"Every goal was a proper goal and I am happy for him," added Mourinho, who fears Chelsea's injury crisis will hit their Cup final plans.

Doubts over the fitness of Ricardo Carvalho could leave Chelsea short in the centre of defence.

And Mourinho admitted that after letting William Galls go to Arsenal and Robert Huth quit for Middlesbrough last summer, his team had found themselves short of cover during the season.

"The only thing we can criticise ourselves on is that in the other seasons we had a group of four central defenders," stated Mourinho.

"This season, we had three. A fit Robert Huth this season would have played 35, 40 matches and played an incredible role."

As Mourinho targets Reading's Steve Sidwell, he also hinted that Chelsea's big-spending days could be over.

He said: "There will be no big investments, we won't be involved in the big market.

"We don't need a lot of players, just a normal season without so many injuries."

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Mourinho salutes Chelsea courage

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho and players Frank Lampard and John Terry
Mourinho consoles Frank Lampard and John Terry
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho says the courageous manner of his side's title defence has made him prouder than their Premiership successes in 2005 and 2006.

Chelsea's 1-1 draw with Arsenal at the Emirates ensured United claimed the title for the first time since 2003.

"I have to say maybe I'm prouder now than when we were champions," said Mourinho. "All season my players have been heroes against everything.

"This was a game to remember and showed how big Chelsea are as a club."

Mourinho offered his congratulations to Manchester United, but could not bring himself to say that the best team had won the title.

"It doesn't matter, what matters is the team with more points is the champion," added Mourinho.

"I have to congratulate the champions, the players, the manager, the fans, the board; all the people that helped them to be champions.

Mourinho pinpointed Chelsea's lack of defensive cover for centre-back Ricardo Carvalho as why the defending champions had failed to win the Premiership for a third successive time.

"We had a big problem only to play all season only with Carvalho at centre-half but now is not the moment to talk about that.

"I'm very proud of my players. Normally when a team has a lot of success and loses a championship it's lack of motivation, not the same spirit or ambition, but it was exactly the opposite.

"My team was brilliant."

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Mourinho believes Blues were best

Jose Mourinho
Mourinho tells his players to applaud the fans after the defeat at Anfield
Manager Jose Mourinho felt Chelsea did not deserve their penalty shoot-out defeat against Liverpool in the Champions League semi-final.

The Londoners were beaten 4-1 on spot-kicks after Liverpool cancelled out Chelsea's 1-0 first-leg lead.

"It is a moment when everybody has to be strong," he said. "My players have a lot of reasons to be proud.

"We were the best team today, even against a team only playing for the Champions League."

He added: "In extra-time we were the only team who tried to win, but football is like that and the penalty shoot-out is part of the game.

"My players did a great run in the Champions League."

Mourinho also denied that his pre-match spat with Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez helped inspire Liverpool to victory.

He added: "I respected Liverpool always in my words. I don't need to say more and today I think the best team was Chelsea."