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Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Latest Chelsea News

Juve Declare Lampard Interest

Juventus will go for Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard in the summer judging by comments made by director Gianluca Pessotto.

The Bianconeri have been monitoring the progress of Lampard for some time, with boss Claudio Ranieri keen to reunite with the player he signed for Chelsea from West Ham United in 2001. The England midfielder has previously expressed an interest in playing abroad, with Barcelona also a rumoured destination, and he is yet to put pen to paper on a new deal at Stamford Bridge.
With 14 months left on his Chelsea contract, Lampard could move for as little as £6m this summer. “He is an excellent player," commented Juve director Pessotto. "I feel we will be able to buy players of his class in the summer.” New ChallengeHaving won everything on offer in the English domestic game it is thought that Lampard now believes the time is right to try his luck elsewhere, with Juve's likely return to the Champions League a key factor.

Grant Wary Of The 'C' Word

Crisis has been a word that might have come out too early in Avram Grant's stint as Chelsea manager, but he admitted that it would be nothing but were the Blues to be dumped out of the Champions League.
Until ten days ago, Chelsea were in the race for four titles, and it is somewhat surprising that Grant has been slammed after only his third defeat of the season - in the Carling Cup final to Tottenham.Given, his big match credentials should come under scrutiny, but to castigate him for a defeat in his first game, and then narrow defeats to Arsenal and Tottenham, does seem a bit rushed.That, however, will change if Chelsea fail to defeat Olympiacos at Stamford Bridge tonight, and the former Israel coach is well aware. A Champions League exit at this stage is simply not on for the Blues.
"If we do not qualify, I think you know the word better than me," he said on the eve of the game.If things go according to the form book, that should not happen, and he was understandably worries about complacency."You know that it is our target to succeed in the Champions League but it's a very tough game at home before we go through.," he warned. It's important for us to ensure we don't concede. "We drew 1-1 at home to Rosenborg and if that happens, we're out. So it's important to score but it's important to keep a clean sheet."
"We haven't been to a final [Carling Cup] and as a good team that wants to be bigger, we need to be in a final of the Champions League. It's not easy because there are a lot of good clubs, but it is our priority."“We attacked in the first game and they defended with all their players,” he continued. "Every game, we want to attack, so it will be the same tomorrow. And I don't think it will be a draw. "But defence is important. We know their record away and they always score. It will be a hard game, but we are at home.”

Cole: Confidence Is Finally Back

Chelsea midfielder Joe Cole says the mood in the Blues camp is better than it's been in a long time. The squad are fully focused and determined to beat Olympiacos at the Bridge tonight

Chelsea have a fully fit squad and competition for places is as tough as anywhere in Europe, but that gives Cole plenty of reason to believe this side can beat Olympiacos and go all the way in the Champions League and other competitions. After being benched for the Carling Cup final, the England international admitted his relief to be back playing against West Ham at the weekend - not that being a substitute fazes him. "It is the same at Manchester United and Arsenal – big clubs have big players who are left out from time to time," said Cole, who scored Chelsea's second goal in an impressive 4-0 win at Upton Park on Saturday. "As a footballer you have responsibility for one thing and one thing only, and that's your own performance. My job is to play as well as I can for Chelsea when selected, and I don't pay any attention to any of the dramas that surround this club."
Confidence Is Back
Speaking of the West Ham win, Cole said it did wonders for the side's confidence and was the perfect way to silence critics after a series of average displays reached a head with the 2-1 Carling Cup final defeat to Spurs. "We had a dip in form leading up to the final and that culminated in a poor performance," admitted Chelsea's No10. "But that's in the past and we are only focusing on Olympiacos and playing well. Confidence is high and all the players are fit, which is the first time that has happened in a long while. It's a great moment for this club and we are ready to build some good form."
No Title Preference
And for the moment, the Champions League match tonight is all that matters to Cole, despite the Blues still being in the hunt for the league and FA Cup. "A club like Chelsea have to be fighting for everything," he explained. "You can't pick and choose at this level and on Wednesday all we will be concerned with is fighting to get in the last eight of the Champions League."