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England

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Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho won La Liga when he was at at Real Madrid, but he thinks in England there is too much competition and big clubs such as Barcelona and Real Madrid would not dominate in the Premier League.

This is what he said to TalkSPORT.

“I was in Spain, but I didn’t enjoy. I didn’t enjoy it because I won a title with a record in Spain with 100 points and 121 goals, but we played only three or four matches all season.

“I lost a title with 92 points, but again we played only four or five matches in the season.

“You feel the pressure that you have to win every match because if you don’t you are not champions. You have to win and win and win. But it is a big, big gap between the giants and the others.”

Mourinho claims that in England he has to play his best available players every match.

“In matches in other countries you can win matches when you are resting. In Spain and in Italy, I won lots of matches resting. Where you can think, ‘what next’. Where you can think which European game is coming, where you can rest players.

“This season I rested a few players against Bradford and I lost against Bradford [in the FA Cup]. And that is English football. You are winning 2-0 and if you concede a goal you know you are going to have hell for the last few minutes and you might draw 2-2 and lose two points.

“This is the reality of the Premier League. You have no time. It’s not just about the number of matches, it’s the intensity. And it’s not just physical intensity, you feel the intensity mentally.

“I think the difference between the two leagues [Premier League and La Liga] is huge. Would they [Barcelona or Real Madrid] win the Premier League? Maybe yes. Maybe not.”

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Where Chelsea have been strong and consistent enough in their league campaign to win it early, this strength wasn’t able to carry them to the latter stages of the Champions League.

In the past month, Chelsea, Bayern Munich and Juventus have claimed their respective league titles, with La Liga being a race between Barcelona and Real Madrid. However, the Premier League champions were the only team to not reach the final eight, dropping out to soon to be Ligue 1 champions PSG, which perhaps further drives the point home.

It can be said that dropping out while there were a notable amount of games left was a blessing in disguise, as injury woes combined with European competition could’ve had the Blues in a tense situation at the end of the season. However, one can’t help but wonder if Mourinho’s team could’ve got even more out of this season, as another Champions League would have easily silenced Mourinho’s detractors.

Perhaps one can credit Chelsea’s shortcomings in Europe to a rare lapse in concentration against a good side, or perhaps burn out from maintaining good form to win what is often stated to be the most competitive league. Conversely however, seeing as not a single English team has gotten to the latter stages in either European competition this year, this overall lacklustre showing from the premier league could be a prompt for worry about the future of English football, especially if even the strongest teams in the league can’t get to the quarter finals. Of course, it would be overreacting to make such big claims on the results of one season, but it does give the managers of the Premier League’s top teams something  think about.

One can hope that Chelsea can improve their already dominant squad in order to step up to the challenge next year, with enough squad depth to have a realistic chance of challenging for all available silverware.

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LAMPARD- GERRARD
England team-mates: Lampard and Gerrard

Steven Gerrard will play his last match with Liverpool at Anfield this Sunday.

The stadium will be packed to salute a legend who will leave the Premier League at the end of the season to go to play in the MLS in America for LA Galaxy.

Here, he will find an old enemy, Chelsea legend Frank Lampard, who wanted to hail his former England team-mate and friend:

“We were in the England squad, as captain and vice-captain, at the last World Cup and I certainly respect him hugely – I always have,” Lampard said.

“But when you are going up against each other, you can kind of get caught up in that. I was a Chelsea man and he is Mr Liverpool.

“I had John (Terry) next to me, he had Jamie Carragher – it was one of those things. It was all healthy stuff but as you get older, you mellow slightly and you just respect him for what he’s done in his career.

“What a fantastic player he has been for Liverpool and England, and he’s a fantastic bloke. He’s a family man, I’ve always known him as a good lad and a great player.

“I think it’s great for us that we have both made the decision to go there. We’re at the back end of our careers – we know that – but we’re still very driven and we’ll want to do well.

“I’m pleased he is there. It’s great for the league, it’s great for us at this time in our lives to go and play there and I look forward to playing against him there.”

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Cesc Fabregas has been discussing the hard work he put in as a youngster in order to be the player he is now.

The Premier League champion has accumulated 95 caps since his senior debut as a teenager.

When he was 10 yeard old he was taken on by Barcelona. Then he moved to England with Arsenal and he made his first-team debut at 16.

The assist king Fabregas made a great impact in Blues side and he explained the work he put in to achieve his dreams.

“I trained everywhere I could. I had my school team, I used to play with my dad, I used to go to my town’s club to play on the pitch.

“When I was 10 I signed for Barcelona and that’s when things started to get more complicated. My town was one-and-a-half hours away, and we had to drive after school at 5pm, train at 7, finish at 9, arrive home at 11 and then do the study and wake up at 7. My week was full and at the weekend we had games. It was six tough years before I joined Arsenal, but everything was worth it.

“If you really love it and it’s your passion, and you want to achieve what you are doing, you will make it happen.”

This is a lesson for young hopefuls.

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JOSE MOURINHO LEO MESSI
Mourinho revealed he spent hours studying how to stop Leo Messi

Speaking before the match with Liverpool to Chelsea website, Mourinho talked again about Steven Gerrard, after praising him already in his press conference, revealing he was one of the champions and the rivals he admired and respected the most, having tried to sign him for every team he managed.

Gerrard will play for the last time with a Liverpool shirt tomorrow at Stamford Bridge, before heading off to Los Angeles to play the MLS with LA Galaxy.

Lampard and him were for years the pivots of England national team, and many people were talking about the best way to combine their style of play.

Mourinho wanted to share his opinion about this:

“They were the two best number 8s in Europe from 2004 to 2012. When you have them, with my vision, you don’t play with a number 10. You play with a number six and give the freedom to the number 8s because they will score more goals than a number 10. Frank Lampard would score 30 goals from midfield and Steven Gerrard would score 25.’

The Chelsea boss then spoke about Leo Messi, that last Wednesday provided another impressive performance, with two stunning goals, in the Champions League semifinal against Bayern Munich. The world of football is another time – literally- at his feet:

“Almost every year I’m there, in the quarter-finals, semi-final or final, this was the first time in many years I wasn’t there. It’s very normal not to be there once in a while but watching Messi you don’t miss being there because you enjoy it so much, you don’t think about not being there, you think about what he did”

“I always planned when I played against him. Every time I spent hours studying and trying to [find ways to] stop him. Many times we were successful, other times we weren’t”

“For Inter, against Barcelona, we stopped him in both matches. I think the last way to do it is man to man, because he’s better than everyone. When you go man to man, you go with similar power. With him it’s an impossible job”

“I played against him so many times. He played for Barcelona against Porto when I was there and he was just a kid. After that I played against him with Chelsea, Inter and at Real Madrid I played against him dozens and dozens of times”

“Every time I played against him I would think about ways in which we could collectively give him a difficult match, that’s the best thing you can do against him”

 

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Aluko has also played for Charlton and Birmingham City

In her new regular column with BBC Sport, Chelsea Ladies striker Eniola Aluko talks about Jose Mourinho, the Chelsea Ladies team and selection for the England Womens team. 

The Chelsea Men’s team won the title with a 1-0 win against Crystal Palace last Sunday, Eden Hazard’s penalty rebound enough to win Chelsea their first Premier League title since 2010.

“The whole ladies’ team went to the Palace game at Stamford Bridge and it was truly inspirational to witness the atmosphere and see the fans buzzing afterwards. It was hard not to go to bed with that spirit in our minds and it definitely helped as we hung on to beat City by the same scoreline.

“It’s great to be part of Chelsea right now. The men’s team have also triumphed in the League Cup this season, while the youth team won the Uefa Youth League and their version of the FA Cup last month.

“But one thing you learn at a club the size of Chelsea is there will always be critics.”

24 hours later, Aluko hit the post as the Ladies beat their Manchester City counterpart 1-0 in the FA Womens Cup semi final, and will now face Notts County in the final.

Incredibly, the Female Blues have a 100% record in all competitions this season. But Aluko, whose brother Sone plays for Hull City, says that it was a case of team nerve after Chelsea Ladies were pipped to the title post on the last day of last season:

“We had a lot of people questioning our bottle. We were referred to as the ‘nearly team’. Reaching the FA Cup final for the second time in our history suggests we have rewritten that narrative.”

Jose Mourinho has now won his third Premier League title with Chelsea, and the charismatic 52-year old is a brilliant inspiration to have about the club, says 28-year old Aluko:

“I think Mr Mourinho’s opponents should regard him in a different way too. In my view he is one of the greatest managers that has ever lived.

“He’s a tactical genius, an incredible winner, and he gets the best out of his players and they all respect him – I don’t know what more you could ask for from a manager. I find him inspiring.

“Some teams get criticised for playing attractive football away from home when they don’t win. Others play more directly and also receive abuse. The main thing is that people always respect winning teams and it’s unfair to describe Chelsea as boring. At the start of the season, they were playing immaculate football and the way the Premier League is so attacking now, I don’t think it’s possible to win it by playing boring football.

“We have won our last three games 1-0, which some would say is a Mourinho style of playing.”

This season sees the first FA Womens Cup Final to be held at Wembley, as women’s football increasingly grows in support, talent and popularity around the country. Notts County, Chelsea’s opponents, have never been in a FA Cup final before, but it will be just as special an occasion for Aluko:

“It’s quite hard to describe what playing at Wembley means. Every little boy and girl with a desire to play football dreams of playing there and now the players in our side have realised that ambition. It is made even more poignant given that opportunities to do so have only recently arrived for women’s players.

“Fortunately, I have already had a taste while representing Great Britain in the London 2012 Olympics and for England against Germany last November, but doing it with your club feels different. I speak from experience when I say it has this impact that affects everyone in your life – family, friends, team-mates and coaches.

“It is another huge step for women’s football and it would be great if we could get a good crowd on 1 August against Notts County to make sure it becomes a regular fixture in the women’s football calendar.”

But in the short term, Aluko, who is also a qualified lawyer, is looking to be selected by England Women’s boss Mark Sampson to be in the squad for the Women’s World Cup in Canada. The striker has scored 32 goals in 89 appearances for the national side:

“There is nothing you can control other than your own performance and I’ve worked hard and given my all for my country, scored goals to help us qualify and really enjoyed improving under Mark and his England staff.

“Sure, there will be nerves before Monday, but as players we won’t be discussing whether we think we might make it or not. You have to respect that other potential squad members will be feeling different emotions so you just have to wait it out.

“The time to talk about it with team-mates will be once the squad is announced.”

 

 

 

 

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Bobby Tambling was presented with the three England caps he won during his carreer with the national team in the 1960s.

 

The legendary Blues striker Bobby Tambling made 370 appearances at Chelsea and scored 202 goals during his carreer at the club. After Frank Lampard, who surpassed him in 2013, Tambling was Blues all-time highest goalscorer.

Sunday’s game was the perfect day for Tambling to be presented with the caps, since he moved to Crystal Palace after leaving Chelsea club.

Gary Lineker, former England striker, made the presentation in the directors’ box prior to kick-off, with Tambling.

“It’s a very emotional day,” he told Chelsea TV. “We thought it would be because of what could happen today with Chelsea, but what I’m holding in my hands are the three England caps I won back in the early 1960s, which unfortunately were destroyed.

“Now they’re back in my hands again, I never thought I’d see them and I’m so proud to have them again.

“It was a complete surprise. I can’t believe it, I’m still in shock and shall treasure these now. I received a golden boot from the Chelsea Foundation last year and that was the best trophy I ever received.

“People ask if I won any England caps and I say I won three, then they look around the house and ask where they are. My youngest son took them and had an accident with them, but now I’ve got them back it’s a really happy day.”

Tambling made his first England appearance in 1962, in a 4-0 win against Wales in 1962. Then he played in further games against France, where he scored his one goal for the Three Lions, and Yugoslavia.

He was happy to see his former club secure the Barclays Premier League title on Sunday.

 

 

 

“They deserve it more than anybody else,” he said. “They’ve been so consistent and deserve to be where they are. It just shows you how marvellous the manager is, this is the second team he’s built and it’s in its early days.”

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Their carreers are different, but Terry and Courtois have both worked hard to secure the League title.

Almost 10 years ago John Terry captained the side to championship.

This time is his fourth.

After spending his time on loan in Spain, Thibaut Courtois made a great impact in Blues side, particularly in his first season.

“It is even more special when we do it in front of our own fans for sure,” Terry said.

“We managed to set it up with the win at Leicester and it was a tough game against Crystal Palace. They are a good side and they made it difficult, especially late on but we managed to get over the line and we are champions.

“We’ve worked so hard this year. The first time you win it is obviously very special but when you go four or five years without winning it and you’ve grafted all year and you get nothing for it, it really hurts – so we’re going to enjoy this.

“I’ve been a ball boy here, a mascot, I’ve painted the stadium and this is what I live for, to give the championship to the fans after five years.”

The Premier League title is not the first title Courtois got, since he won even in Belgium and Spain.

“I am very proud because I am 22 years old, nearly 23 and it is an amazing feeling to have already reached that in my career, because it was only a dream to win La Liga title and the Premier League title,” he said.

“Being champion at Atletico was something special because Barcelona and Real Madrid dominate so much and it is always hard for another team, but in England you have four or five contenders for the title and to win it four games before the end of the season is a great feeling.

“We knew it would be a hard game. Crystal Palace under Alan Pardew are playing well and we had a lot of opportunities but they always went outside the post.

“They had a good block and tried to counter attack with the fast players they had up front. Then they put on more strikers and put long balls in and it was hard, but we won it and we are very happy to do it in front of our fans.”

The Belgian goalkeeper talked about Terry and his fellow Petr Cech as well.

“Working together every day at a high level with the goalkeeping coach and the other goalkeepers, we push each other in the games to play better and to achieve better results. We have seen all season that if I had an injury or I didn’t play, Petr was fantastic. We worked very well together.

“It was not easy in the last weeks but the team handled the pressure well.

“The last four games I have played I kept clean sheets and the defence was very strong in the last part of the season.

“He [Terry] is a great leader and captain and he helped us through this season with his experience. He played a great season and he had some massive games including last weekend’s against Arsenal. He was important for us.”

The captain had words for his boss Jose Mourinho and his influence.

“He has been different class all year, he deserves a lot of respect,” he claimed.

“He is the best by a long, long way and we were the best side footballing-wise up to Christmas and then teams made it difficult, and he found a way to beat teams.”

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ST GEORGE PARK TRAINING CENTRE
St. George's Park Training Centre

Chelsea squad will train in St. George’s Park training centre in these two days ahead of Leicester clash.

The trip was done to avoid a longer journey tomorrow evening, since the venue that usually hosts English national team in their training camps is just one hour from King Power Stadium, a lot shorter trip than Cobham.

José Mourinho and his boys travelled earlier this afternoon from London and Chelsea will stay at the on-site Hilton Hotel and have full access to the centre’s state-of-the-art facilities during their stay.

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STERLING
STERLING

Chelsea’s pursuit of Raheem Sterling appears to be over after the Liverpool claimed he is happy at Anfield.

The 20-year-old’s future has been the subject of fervent speculation recently after negotiations over a new contract were put on hold.

Sterling has been one of Liverpool’s most prolific performers since breaking into the first team three seasons ago, and formed one of the most fearsome attacks in world football with Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge when Liverpool nearly won the league in 2014.

Sterling’s contract runs out in 2017 and it was widely reported that he was a target for many clubs in the next transfer window such as Chelsea, Arsenal and Real Madrid after apparently turning down a new contract worth £100,000- a-week.

However, Sterling refutes that and insists his future is with Liverpool. BBC quotes him as saying: “Everyone’s dream growing up is seeing themselves in an away kit somewhere in a sunny country.

“But, in reality, I’m happy to be playing for Liverpool and trying to win trophies.”

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