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COSTEL PANTILIMON SUNDERLAND

Sunderland latest team news ahead of Chelsea game on Sunday:

– Goalkeeper Vito Mannone is set to return at Stamford Bridge eight months after his last game against Arsneal in October

– Costel Pantilimon will miss Sunderland’s final game of the 2014-15 season: the Romanian keeper is unavailable due to a knee problem

– Danny Graham (ankle) is also a doubt

– Sebastian Larsson is fit despite limping through the final stages of Wednesday’s survival-clinching trip to the Emirates Stadium.

– Jordi Gomez, Wes Brown and Liam Bridcutt remain sidelined.

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JOSE MOURINHO
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho © Francesca Ceciarini

Chelsea manager José Mourinho spoke today ahead of Monday night’s game against West Brom at the Hawthorns.

The Portuguese coach stressed the fact that Chelsea are not going to completely clear out their squad for next season but, first, this one has to come to an end and there is a 90 points league “record” that can be reached:

“90 points…it’s not just that tha matters in the game, I keep repeating I was impressed by Palace, the attitude they got at Stamford Bridge: they didn’t need points and made a fantastic game.

I’m happy that WBA are champions in their league and don’t need points too, but it’s their last game at home, and we are the champions,we have a responsibility as champions.

“To be champions is to be champions, and the maximum points we can do, the better, the maximum possible distance from the second one, the better.”

Mourinho mentioned Chelsea keeper Petr Cech, who, according to his agent, has been given the green light to speak to other clubs.

I don’t think if it’s absolutely true what Cech’s agent says, maybe the reality is a little different, but he still got a contract.

“I want the best players and the most important players in my squad. My position, my desire, is him to stay. I would like him to stay and I’m optimistic.”

Patrick Bamford was also mentioned, with question marks over whether the youngster will be at Stamford Bridge next season. He has had a brilliant campaign with Middlesbrough, who are currently in the Championship play-offs. The Teesiders play Brentford tonight to decide whether they will be in the play-off final.

The 52-year old then went on to speak further about the upcoming transfer window:

Bamford is still a Middlesbrough player, today it’s an important day for them, they are playing the playoff second leg.

“I hope he does the best for them, after that is time for us to think and speak about it. Impressed by him? I will be impressed if he scores three goals tonight”

“Will I have a busy summer? I expect to be busy going from my towel in the sand to the water and swim a little bit, that’s how I expect to be busy.

“Last season I was for sure more keen in selling players, in this moment the base is to keep my squad.”

One talking point recently is the fact that the Chelsea boss wasn’t given the April Manager of the Month award, despite the Blues winning the title. But, attention hads turned to the Manager of the Year award, which many expect Mourinho to claim. However, the Portuguese says he will be happy either way:

Manager of the year award? In this season the big trophy didn’t come to my house, but stay at Stamford Bridge.

“I was glad the second trophy was won by Hazard, that was voted the best player in the league. If the third one, the Manager of the Year award, comes I will be happy.”

Mourinho will face Baggies manager Tony Pulis, who coincidentally won the Manager of the Year award last year. The Chelsea boss was quick to praise his colleague and opponent:

If I were an English club owner – and this will never happen- I would sign Tony Pulis as a manager: he never manages clubs to be champion or in the top four, but he brings stability and does what the club want. 

“Not everybody stresses that but for me an important thing in a manager work is what the manager wants and what the team actually is: his teams are exactly what he wants.”

Ahead of Monday’s game, which kicks off at 8pm, Mourinho revealed that the squad does have some absentees. Nathan Ake is expected to start.

Injuries; Ramires, Oscar and Zouma… season over. Cech can come back for the last game, Diego Costa is supposed to be selected for this game, he should be ready. 

The game has nothing but pride resting on it, as West Brom are safe and Chelsea are guaranteed first place. Now, Mourinho’s attentions have started to turn to preparation for next season.

“We don’t have the pressure that you got when you are almost there anymore, that situation is over, but I don’t change a lot, I will follow the normal route,” Mourinho said.

“We got also friendlies in Thailand and Australia and the end of the season, before our holidays, step by step we will think about next season.”

Mourinho was asked why he didn’t celebrate like his squad did when Chelsea won the title, but he was quick to respond.

It’s not true I hadn’t celebrated when we won the league with Palace: I was celebrating in my office, I left the players the pitch because it was their moment, of course I celebrated.”

Last week saw the Blues face Liverpool at Stamford Bridge. It was Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard’s last game in a Liverpool shirt at Chelsea, most likely. Mourinho praised the veteran midfielder both before and after the game, revealing he had tried to sign him more than once. Gerrard rebuffed Chelsea’s attention.

When I tried to bring Gerrard to my teams I tried to be keen and intelligent, I never put pressure on him to leave Liverpool. I think tomorrow he will realise why that decision worked.”

Another story this week was that of Andre Schürrle’s surprise to receive a Premier League winners medal, despite leaving the club in January.

All the players that started the season with us were invited to get the Premier League medal and also to the Player of the Year dinner, I’m not sure they can come.

“So Schürrle, Salah, Schwarzer and Lewis Baker were all invited even though you need 5 appearances to get the official medal, and players like Schwarzer hadn’t got a single minute, but we are going to buy medals and do replicas of the cup. One minute or nothing, for us they’ re champions.

“John Terry, Ivanovic and Eden Hazard they all want to start every game in the Premier League, and we will try to do it,even because to do that here in England is not easy.”

Mourinho’s last comment was on Vhelsea’s shape ahead of the upcoming transfer market:

The market is difficult but we are in a good situation. We don’t want dramatic changes but stability in the squad. We believe in this team, we are stable and last season we got stability to analyse to improve the team. We want to keep the squad and improve the motivation. We will just bring a couple of extra players to improve the squad”

We are not going to go in the market game, we know what we want, it’s not much”.

 

 

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MOURINHO GERRARD
Gerrard and Mourinho always had huge mutual respect

In the press conference ahead of Liverpool’s clash Jose Mourinho claimed he’s very sad to face a champion like Steven Gerrard for the last time.

The Blues boss also stated that Chelsea will try to win the three next upcoming matches and that the club and him are already planning the next season to improve the results.

“We want to win, we want to win all matches, three difficult matches, Liverpool needs points, normally Sunderland needs points, only WBA will be just in a situation where they don’t need point- even if they play the last match at home. Crystal Palace was perfect, it was the perfect example of what football has to be. If we can reach 90 points it will be a beautiful number for a competition like the Premier League”

“It’s not true I gave the players four days off. Every player has his needs, and for this reason there were some players that got two days off, some had three or four, some were here working on Monday”

“Manager of the Month? I think my objective of the season was to be champion, apart from that, what comes comes, what doesn’t come doesn’t come. I would like to know what people in the panel is, because maybe some day I meet them at an event or on the pitch and I want to hug him [laughs]. To enjoy my title is the most important thing”

“I don’t need a contract, Mr Abramovich has to be very calm, because he has me, I’m in his hands, I want to stay, I don’t want to leave, if he wants me to stay I stay, and where he wants me to leave I leave. I know that for next season he wants me to stay, because we are working on it. The most important thing is not a two years contract or ten years contract, the most important thing is that I want to stay”

“Liverpool is a giant club and if they want to honour the champions is ok, now it’s my time to honour the champions, like Steve Gerrard, because if I am the manager I am is for opponents like him, I learn from my players and from my opponents, in the way they make me study them: Steven Gerrard is for sure one of my favourite ‘enemies’, for sure is England is one of my dear ‘enemy’, I lost to him, I won, he played in all positions, in one of the last matches he came from the wing, I’m very sad I will play for the last time against him. The same is for Frank Lampard, but it was different because Frankie was here with me, Steven was always on the other side, I tried to bring him to Chelsea, to Inter, to Real Madrid, but he was always my dear enemy. It’s too late to bring him to Chelsea, he won’t ever play against Liverpool: he’s one of the last players that won’t go to other  big clubs or leagues to not play against Liverpool, maybe one day I will play against him when he will be Liverpool manager”

“I’m not happy to be out of the Champions League in the last 16, but with the players we lost it would been tough to play against Barcelona, and Man United and Arsenal in the same days”

“The most important thing is to keep the squad, the players we have, in my previous squad I had players I was happy to sell and make money out of them, in this squad no, and the board agree with me. In the squad we have 16-17 players and the youngsters, of course we don’t sell the young boys, obviously we want to improve the squad, some young players are ready to go on long-term loan to improve, Loftus-Cheek is staying, not going on loan”

“Solanke is playing a lot, he plays everywhere, in every team, in the first team, U21, U18, Champions League, Youth League..and this is very good for him. On Sunday he won’t play because I have Drogba and Remy. I’m not surprised of what he did, because in the last pre-season he played with us everywhere, but these guys have to learn to control emotions, this is very important for them”

“I think is a title to remember for the stability from day one to the last day”

“Next season I guess will be a very important season”

“Oscar got an important muscular injury in the quadriceps, and this take one month-six weeks to recover, we spoke to Dunga, and he made the decision for Oscar not to go”

“I think the evolution of the other teams if what we need to be better. If next season in England we are the same I think is not enough, difficulties make us better, we expect our opponents to be stronger, and this is what we need”

“Key moments in this season? Maybe the stability after Tottenham defeat: 1st of January, 5-3, London derby…the stability after that, everybody was confident, everybody sticking together, that moment defined the stability of our group”.

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MOURINHO
José Mourinho © Francesca Ceciarini

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho had the mentality of two points dropped after he saw his side draw 0-0 with third-placed Arsenal in a competitive game at the Emirates.

In a game which saw Cesc Fabregas booked for diving on his first return to the Emirates for four years and Oscar go to hospital with suspected concussion, Mourinho acknowledged that winning the title is very much in his side’s hands as they face Leicester on Wednesday night.

Had the Blues beaten the Gunners, and then won on Wednesday night, they would be Champions.

Mourinho said: “It is a point. We need five to be Champions and we are in the countdown. We need points so if we get three points in the next game, we need two, if we get one, we need four. If we lose we need five. The team is very confident and playing extremely well so we know it is in our hands.

“We got what we got. I leave it to you to analyse but we performed very, very, very well. Against a team in second place with nothing to lose and everything to win. The game was under in control.”

Mourinho was particularly impressed by the performance of captain John Terry, who kept a tight ship in the goalless draw:

“I told John Terry in the dressing room that he made fantastic performances with me but this was his best.

“It was the best JT has ever played. It was absolutely amazing.”

Chants of “Boring, boring Chelsea,” were shouted by the Arsenal fans at the end of the game, but when asked by BBC Radio 5 what he thought of the incident, the Portuguese man was quick to defend his side:

“Boring is 10 years without a title. That is very boring when you support a club and you are waiting, waiting, waiting for so many years, but maybe they were not singing for us. When you are at home and you want to win the game and you take off your centre-forward, maybe for the home fans they wanted more, they wanted to play Giroud together with Welbeck in the last minutes.

‘The boring team is the one with the second-most goals in the Premier League and the best team on goal difference. We score a lot of goals and in a period when we don’t have Diego Costa and Loic Remy and only one striker, we changed a little bit and are not scoring as many as before, but even so only Man City have scored more goals”

Mourinho did reveal that Oscar was taken to hospital for a scan after a nasty collision with Arsenal goalkeeper David Ospina. The Brazilian midfielder continued to play for another 25 minutes, but was taken off at half time: “He went for a scan because we were a little scared,” Mourinho said to Sky Sports.

 

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Chamberlain is likely to sit out rest of the campaign because of his groin injury

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s last appearance came in at Old Trafford on March 9, when he played for Gunners’ FA Cup and now could miss the rest of the season.

The England midfielder, 21, was substituted in the second half of the Arsenal’s FA Cup win at Manchester United.

The Gunners boss, Arsene Wenger, said that Chamberlain has not yet returned, even though it was initially expected that the player would out for weeks rather than months.

Hopefully, he doesn’t need surgery, but he is going to miss the rest of the season for the second successive year after receiving a groin injury.

Last year he missed the final month, and, consequently, didn’t play in the FA Cup Final victory over Hull.

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DIDIER DROGBA
DIDIER DROGBA © Francesca Ceciarini

Didier Drogba couldn’t take part Monday night to a charity match in France due an ankle injury that can rule him out of next game against Arsenal.

He wrote on his Twitter account that, anyway, he is still supporting the campaign to stop Ebola.

So an Arsenal fan attacked him saying:

“You ruled out of your own Charity game because Jose didn’t want u getting injured in the business end of the season, ur scum

Drogba promptly replied:

“I’m already injured if you can read well my friend

An answer that many Chelsea fans would find funny for his spirit, but not so good for the important upcoming game, since also Diego Costa and Remy are not fully fit.

 

Drogba twitter

 

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Chelsea-vs-Man-United
Chelsea-vs-Man-United

Chelsea play Manchester United at Stamford Bridge on Saturday (17:30 KO), in a tie that is huge for both teams.

If Chelsea win, they take a huge step towards winning the title. If United claim the three points, they all but secure Champions League football next season.

Team news

Chelsea: The Blues are set to be without top scorer Diego Costa (hamstring) and Loic Remy (calf).

They have no other injury concerns.

Manchester United: United are still waiting to see if Michael Carrick will be fit, as the midfielder picked up a knock late on against Manchester City last weekend.

Striker Robin van Persie and defender Luke Shaw have returned to training, and could feature in some capacity.

 

Statistics

Saturday’s meeting will be the 165th game between the two sides in all competitions. United have the edge, having won 68 of those games. Chelsea have won 48 times, with 50 draws.

The earlier game this season was a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford.

Chelsea are unbeaten in their last 11 matches (W5, D5), and they are unbeaten at home all season. United have only lost one in their last 10, and they have only drawn one in the same period.

The Reds have won their last six consecutive games, including victories over Tottenham, Liverpool and Manchester City. They have scored 15 goals and conceded just four times in those games.

United have only won once at Stamford Bridge in 10 previous top-flight fixtures.

As Arsenal don’t play until the 26th April, Chelsea could extend their lead at the top of the table to 10 points. United could go into second with a win, but Arsenal would have a game in hand.

 

Last time out

Chelsea (vs. QPR, away, won 0-1): Courtois, Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta, Ramires, Matic, Willian, Fàbregas, Hazard, Drogba

Manchester United (vs. Manchester City, home, won 4-2): de Gea, Valencia, Smalling, Jones, Blind, Carrick, Mata, Herrera, Fellaini, Young, Rooney

 

 

 

 

 

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On-loan Chelsea striker Victor Moses is out for the rest of the season after sustaining an hamstring injury.

After being surplus to requirements at Chelsea, Moses was looking for more regular time on the pitch. He has been loaned out twice since moving to London – going to Liverpool last season and he is now currently on loan at Stoke City.

This season he has excelled and he looks to be a perfect fit at the Britannia. His manager Mark Hughes has been pleased with his performances this season and said:

“It may well be that Victor’s season is over unfortunately because of the type of injury he has got. He might get back but at the moment we’re probably thinking that he won’t make it. It’s a shame because Victor has done really well since he’s been with us.”

Moses has created chances and scored some important goals this season, and Hughes has openly stated that he would like to see the 24-year old striker stay at the Britannia.

“He’ll look back on his time with us and think he’s made an impression and done well and we’d agree with that because he’s been a really important figure for us this season,” added the Stoke manager.

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moses
moses

Stoke City manager Mark Hughes seems keen to offer to Chelsea loanee Victor Moses a new deal despite the Nigerian suffering a new hamstring injury.

The 24-year old is on a season-long loan at the Potters, after previously being loaned out to Liverpool since moving to Chelsea from Wigan in 2012.

Moses has made 22 appearances for the Staffordshire side, with four goals.

He has stated that he has enjoyed his time at Stoke, but he is still a Chelsea player. However Stoke boss Hughes has said to still be keen on the striker.

“Because he is an explosive player, the hamstring is always a danger, and so he will always be a bit susceptible to those kind of injuries; but that won’t affect my thinking on other decisions we make with Victor. 

“He has done well for us this season, but he is a Chelsea player and so they decide on the timing of talks.

The striker suffered his third injury of the campaign last Saturday against West Ham, but this will not deter his current manager, who believes in the Nigerian’s qualities as a player.

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Mourinho
Chelsea manager José Mourinho © Francesca Ceciarini

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has refused to condemn QPR supporters for throwing objects onto the pitch in yesterday’s game against QPR.

As Cesc Fabregas celebrated his 88th minute goal, which proved to be the winner in the 0-1 Chelsea victory, objects were thrown from the stands housing QPR supporters.

The objects included glass bottles, programmes, scarfs, and lighters.

Multiple coins were also thrown.

Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic was reportedly hit by one of the projectiles, with photos showing the Serbian clearly being struck on the back of the neck by a cigarette lighter. In turn, the Blues defender was seen holding the back of his neck in pain.

Ivanovic reported the incident to referee Andre Marriner, and goalscorer Fabregas handed him one of the coins that was reportedly thrown by the home supporters.

But despite the ugly affair, Mourinho didn’t condemn the behaviour of the Loftus Road faithful:

“The game was correct in the pitch and correct in the stands,” he said. “It is not easy in an emotional game.

The Portuguese man added: “If, at the end of the game, someone threw a pound coin, put it in your pocket. If someone threw a chocolate, eat it. It is no problem. Everybody needs a pound.”

However, QPR manager Chris Ramsey criticised those who threw objects:

“We don’t want objects thrown on the pitch.

“I don’t know what happened and I didn’t see it, but if that’s the case [that objects were thrown] we don’t want those people back in the club.”

 

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