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Chelsea FC

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Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel stated that Chelsea is a better place since José Mourinho has gone:

“We’ve moved on and the atmosphere has improved since the change of manager. It’s fine now, we’ve just not been getting results. José is a fantastic manager and will always be a fantastic guy. But sometimes football is a cruel game and you have to move on. He came back to the club a second time and won two trophies but now he’s gone and we have to move on. Is it the right decision? Who knows? We’ll only see in the future.

“He [Hiddink] hasn’t changed much yet but he was here before and he knows the place and all the staff. The players are different – only me and John Terry were here before – but he knows what to do. We’re down there in the table for a reason so he can’t come in and perform miracles but we want to get out of there and climb the table. We’ve had three games now without losing so are making the right steps.”

Mikel cannot explain why Chelsea went through such a bar run:

“I’ve been as confused as everyone else. It’s difficult when you’re not playing, as you don’t really know what the problems are. I wasn’t playing that much under Mourinho so couldn’t put my finger on what was going wrong. It was a collective thing – the players and the manager were not performing.”

Sometimes you could see in the game that they had chances to attack but were a little bit skeptical or hesitant. Maybe they were a little bit scared.

“I don’t think they were really scared but just a bit cautious. They were playing not to lose as well. Because of the fast players we have up front, who can break, they were cautious and approached the game not to lose. Both teams are not in the right place right now to attack, attack, attack, attack. Sometimes you have to be smart and settle for a point.”

On Rooney and Oscar tackle he said: “I didn’t see the tackle but from what I’ve heard it was a bit high. The other players were talking about it at the end and they said he should have been sent off. Oscar is fine though.”

For the midfielder the top four is still possible:

“I don’t think it’s gone yet. We’ve got a lot of games left to play and points to catch up. If we keep going in this direction and keep keeping clean sheets then we’ll definitely score goals.”

 

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JOHN TERRY
Chelsea captain John Terry can end his adventure with the Blues at the end of the season © Francesca Ceciarini

Chelsea captain John Terry spoke to Chelsea TV after the 0-0 draw with Manchester United and claimed he is confident the team – now in the 14th spot of the table- can climb positions up quicky:

“The desire in the group is there for everyone to see in the last few games,” he said.

For whatever reason we were not winning games from the start and we are where we are. 

“We have to build upon that and change things around very quickly because, looking at the league table, it is horrible. With a quick succession of wins we can climb the table quickly.

“I think it has been bizarre. Being amongst it has been really difficult and that is credit to teams you would not expect to win games throughout the year improving their squads and improving individuals.

“It is now down to us as a group and a club to step up and go again to that next level where we want to be.

“This year it’s probably too far to go, but the season after that and long when I have gone we have set the levels and we need to keep that year after year.”

Terry thanked Chelsea supporters for their backing after a draw against United that impressed him.

“I think the desire and the effort was spot-on,” he said.

“The work-rate was different class throughout the whole starting eleven, but more importantly I just want to say thank you to the fans.

“We owed them that performance and I think they can slowly see the tide turning and us putting in performances and getting results.”

 

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According to the Express, three Chelsea stars can leave in January.

Oscar, Ramires and Nemanja Matic are all candidates to leave the Blues during the winter transfer window.

Oscar is having a really poor season, with only two goals scored – one on penalty- and no assists given, he even missed the chance to give Chelsea three points with an incredible mistake from the penalty kick-spot on Boxing Day against Watford and at Old Trafford he had one of the worst performances ever with the Blues: we realized he was on the pitch only when Wayne Rooney stamped his leg with that horrible foul.

But above all, he shows no commitment on the pitch and some Chelsea fans are furious to him for his attitude: in fact, he was one of the players booed against Sunderland after Mourinho’s sacking.

It’s no mistery that Juventus’ coach Massimiliano Allegri has a soft spot for the Brazilian: the Italian club already tried to sign him last summer, but at the end the deal couldn’t be closed, also because Oscar didn’t want to move from London and from Chelsea.

But in these four months things have changed, and the move is now possible.

Also Nemanja Matic has been a real poor season until now: last year he was one of the fundamental players in Chelsea success in the Premier League, now it seems he lost all of his confidence and pace: the incredible mistake he did yesterday in front of De Gea is a sign of it.

Juventus are keen oh him too, as well as Ramires. The Italian club will try to sign at least one of them in the transfer window that will ope in a couple of days: it could be a good deal for Chelsea, that are looking for money to revamp their squad in order to climb up the Premier League table.

 

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Ex referee Graham Poll claimed Wayne Rooney should have seen the red card for his terrible foul on Oscar during last night’s Manchester United v Chelsea.

“There was a really nasty high tackle by Wayne Rooney on Oscar in the dying minutes, with the Brazilian lucky to escape serious injury,” he wrote on the Mail Online.

Atkinson saw it,” he continues “but decided to show a yellow card when red was required. No wonder the Leeds-based referee has not awarded a penalty or red card in the Premier League all season.”

But also Manchester United was penalised by Martin Atkinson’s bad performance: Willian clear handball inside the box was not punished with a penalty:

“United were also denied a penalty when Willian’s clear handball early in the second half was waved away, perhaps not seen clearly by either Atkinson or his assistant Stephen Child,” writes Poll.

“These were the two big decisions which possibly affected the outcome but it was the general approach to the game which disappointed me most,” he concludes.

And to sum everything up:

“Martin Atkinson’s performance at Old Trafford summed up all that is wrong with refereeing at present; weakness, acceptance of dissent and trying not to upset anyone.”

 

 

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After a “terrible” loan to Crystal Palace Patrick Bamford hit out and announced he will come back to Chelsea in this January transfer window:

“It has been terrible,” he said after the 0-0 draw agaisnt Swansea.

“Obviously things haven’t worked out for whatever reason. I would have been more content if I had been given a chance and not taken it. I haven’t started a game in the Premier League, so for a young player like me that is not what you need.”

“I was frustrated because there weren’t many strikers scoring. Connor [Wickham] only scored his first goal last week. As a striker, it might be short-sighted of me, but scoring goals is a striker’s job.

So he decided to leave Crystal Palace:

“It was my decision. The coaches have just found out – I have told them I am going. I think the manager and the coaching staff already knew.

“But the physios and coaching staff I have just let them know and said bye now. I think I had to do it because I haven’t been playing and for my development, it is crucial that I play games.

On his future:

“I think I have got to be open to all options. Ideally I want to stay in the Premier League and I think there are a few options to stay, so now it is about assessing which is best and we will go from there.

“I just got a bit frustrated at not getting a chance. Obviously there are a lot of things I could say that frustrated me. I got on well with the gaffer [Alan Pardew] and I like him. It was just one of those that didn’t work out.

“Not really. There were a few reasons but I kind of saw through them.

“Apart from that, the team has been doing really well so I couldn’t really complained about getting involved sometimes

“As a striker, it might be short-sighted of me but obviously scoring goals is a striker’s job. If you are not playing and the other strikers are not scoring and you are not getting a chance,obviously I was pulling my hair out.”

Bamford said it was not a decision he took last minute:

“I have known for the last two or three weeks maybe that I was heading back so it was about getting as much game time before I did go back.”

Asked if it was a waste of time he replied:

“I wouldn’t say it has been a waste of time. That would be a bit harsh.

“But I have learned things from the gaffer – playing with people like Yohan [Cabaye] and the other players in the team you can always learn something.

Bamford just played 119 minutes in the Premier League so far, and never started:

“It was my first stint in the Premier League properly. It was a learning curve and we will see what happens next.”

Bamford had a terrific season last year at Middlesbrough:

“That is why I was frustrated. I felt like I had to carry it on. After having watched the games, I know I can fit in at this level.

“It is difficult when you are not playing and you come in for five minutes here or there, 20 minutes there, don’t play for a couple of weeks.

“You don’t really get a run and for a striker it is important to get a run of games. I think if you have seen me play at all the other levels, whenever I have played, I have never been out of the team for longer than a game. That has shown with the goals as well.

“I think after the New Year I go back with  and then take it from there. It is up to me to work hard then and see what happens.”

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Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois spoke to the club official website before the clash at Old Trafford:

Man United lost on Saturday [at Stoke] so they will want to produce a good performance in reaction to that.

“I think we have shown progress in the last couple of games so I hope we can continue like that and have a good match ourselves. We need get into a good rhythm and if we do that we can climb up the table.”

 

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MANCHESTER UNITED – De Gea; Darmian, Smalling, Blind, Young; Schneiderlin, Schweinsteiger; Mata, Herrera, Martial; Rooney (c).

Subs: Romero, Borthwick-Jackson, Pereira, Jones, Carrick, Fellaini, Memphis.

Manager: Louis Van Gaal

 

CHELSEA – Courtois; Ivanovic, Zouma, Terry (c), Azpilicueta; Mikel, Matic; Willian, Oscar, Pedro; Hazard.

Subs: Begovic, Baba Rahman, Djilobodji, Ramires, Loftus-Cheek, Traore, Kenedy. 

Manager: Guus Hiddink

 

Kick Off: 5.30 pm

Referee: Martin Atkinson

Venue: Old Trafford, Manchester, UK

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Cesar Azpilicueta spoke to Chelsea website before Old Trafford’s clash with Manchester United:

It’s always a big game, when you play at Old Trafford to end 2015 it’s a good place. It’s a game we all want to play in and it will be tough.

“Now everybody is looking for us to start winning games and get the winning feeling which we had back. In a tough season we want to finish the year as best as possible.

“In the first part of 2015 we played Man United at home and we won 1-0, the feeling was that we were really strong and powerful. When we are in the position we are now it’s hard to take but that’s the reality and we want to get Chelsea back to where we should be.

“We are working hard but sometimes we haven’t been able to get the results. In a few games we were unlucky but sometimes you have to earn your luck and now is the moment where we have to be focused on the next five or six months, get on a good run and finish in a good position.

“We have to work for it and we will have to do everything almost perfectly because when you play against them they have a lot of quality and you have to be concentrated for every second of the game.

“It will be a great opportunity for us, the fans will be with us and if we can get three points it’s a good chance for us to be back.”

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Chelsea manager Guus Hiddink © Francesca Ceciarini

Guus Hiddink reveals he planned holidays before receiving Chelsea’s call after Mourinho’s sacking, but the decision to come back to Stamford Bridge was almost immediate, and it was guts feeling to suggest it:

“When I was asked [to return] I could have said I wanted to relax at home, I had plans to go on holiday, but my partner looked into my eyes when I got the call and said we’re not going on holiday, we’re going to London, which means I had the feeling I could contribute something.

“For me, when I literally feel the thrill in my stomach, I say okay, step forward and that was the case.

“It’s always nice to be involved in intense games, as it was on Saturday and as it will be again tonight.”

Speaking about last game with Watford, he said:

“We had two setbacks, first with their penalty and the handball by Matic, and secondly their deflected goal. If the team had not reacted I would have said there is a lot to do in terms of the mental part of the game, but they reacted as they did and that’s why I feel the team can be confident.

“They showed what they are obliged to, but also what they feel in their heart as professionals.”

Hiddink also spoke about Falcao:

He’s training with us at the moment but there is a difference between being fit and getting fit.”

“I talked to him and said he needs to get into the intensity of training over a longer period. We have to see him for a longer period in more intense sessions and then we can see what he’s capable of.”

Hiddink spoke also about Hazard:

“We sent him away for a holiday for a few days because of his injury but he came back and trained with us,” explained Hiddink.

“He’s not at top fitness yet but he’s fresh in his mind and that’s important. He needs training and games but I don’t see any problem.

“I want to use my eyes and experience to see how they manage on the training pitch, you can see that easily. Everyone has his chance.”

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Chelsea boss Guus Hiddink © Francesca Ceciarini

Chelsea manager Guus Hiddink is having a hard time choosing which striker would play tonight to substitute banned Diego Costa: both Eden Hazard – who can play as a “false nine” – and Loic Remy travelled with the squad to Manchester but they are not fully fit and will undergo fitness tests.

On Diego Costa’s absence, he claimed:

“That’s a setback. I could complain a lot but that’s not my nature. We have to go on and find a solution as soon as possible. But it is a setback, it’s true.”

On Hazard‘s situation:

“He [Hazard] came in a bit late because we sent him away for holidays for a few days and because of his injuries,” he said speaking to the press before Manchester United clash.

“He came back and he trained the last three days with us. For me, he is not top fit yet but very fresh in his mind and that’s important, so he has to also get training and games.”

Hiddink reveales that Radamel Falcao is not ready to play yet:

“He [Falcao] is training with us, but there is a difference of being fit and game fit. You need longer in training. We talked to him about the intensity of training. If you are fit to train, the next step is to be game fit.”

Hiddink was then asked if he thinks Falcao will ever find his best form again, Hiddink added: “We have to see him for a bit longer.”

The Dutch manager revealed that Chelsea won’t go to Old Trafford to set up a defensive game:

“We are going there and it will be difficult, but I hope this team will show in every game, home and away, the ambition that they showed against Watford in going for a win anywhere.”

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