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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Latest Chelsea And BPL News

Ben Haim hits out at Blues chief
Chelsea defender Tal Ben Haim has claimed he would never have joined the club had he known Jose Mourinho was to be replaced by Avram Grant.

The Israeli had been a target of the former Blues boss for some time and, having failed to secure a move from Bolton in the January transfer window, Ben Haim moved to Stamford Bridge last June.
However, within three months the man who had persuaded him to leave the north west for London had departed Chelsea.
Ben Haim has played just six matches since the turn of the year - just two of those in the league - and has not featured since an FA Cup match against Huddersfield in mid-February.
"Jose Mourinho is the reason I came to Chelsea and if I knew Avram Grant was going to be the coach then I would have signed for another club," Ben Haim told The Sun.
"It was Jose who brought me here and no one except he and I know the conversation we had when he tried to sign me the first time a year ago last January.
"The fact is while Jose was the coach I played most of the games and people who know me know that I would not have come here to be a reserve.
"I knew that nothing good would come with Grant as Chelsea coach."

Petr Cech admitted to Setanta Sports that it was a risk for him to play in Chelsea’s 1-1 draw with Wigan on Monday night.

The Czech Republic number one wore even more protective headgear than usual after he suffered a training ground collision just days before the Stamford Bridge encounter.
Cech made important saves from Antonio Valencia and Antoine Sibierski, but he could not prevent Emile Heskey striking a huge blow to Chelsea’s title hopes by cancelling Michael Essien's opener in the dying minutes.
The Chelsea shot-stopper accepts The Blues’ destiny now lies entirely in Manchester United’s hands as they sit five points off the pace, and he admitted he risked his own health to help the cause.
“It was a bit of a risk because nobody knew what would happen if I was hit on the same spot,” Cech told Setanta Sports 1.
“But I wanted to play, I had protection on the side of my face and in the end everyone was happy with the situation.
“We’re all disappointed because we conceded a goal and lost two points.
“We had a difficult first half, we didn’t create many chances, but then second half Joe Cole came in and we created more one-on-one situations.
“Finally we broke their line but then we conceded a late goal, which is difficult to take.
“But there are still plenty of points to play for and we’ll keep fighting.
“Now we need to concentrate on ourselves and win all our games because the destiny is not in our hands, and we need to beat Manchester United.”

Lampard misses Chelsea game to be with seriously-ill mumTuesday, April 15, 2008
Concerned: Frank Lampard
Chelsea star Frank Lampard missed last night's draw with Wigan because his mum has been taken seriously ill.
The England midfielder rushed from Stamford Bridge to join his family at Pat Lampard's hospital bedside after the 58-year-old was struck by pneumonia.
Lampard's agent, Steve Kutner, would only say: 'It is a family matter, there is an illness in the family and that is it.

Jose Mourinho slams Arsene Wenger and Rafa Benitez

Jose Mourinho last night stepped up his war of words with former rivals Arsene Wenger, Sir Alex Ferguson and Rafa Benitez - as he bragged: "You'll never be as special as me."
Seven months after Mourinho stunned the game by walking out of Chelsea he is still to announce his future plans, although Inter Milan are frontrunners to name him as their coach for next season.
Fergie stands on the brink of his 10th Premier League crown, Benitez could reach a third Champions League final in four seasons and Wenger's Arsenal have played beautiful football.
But Mourinho sneered that none of them came close to matching his achievements.

The Portuguese said: "The English like statistics a lot. Do they know that Arsene Wenger has only 50 per cent of wins in the English league, and that Alex Ferguson, in the same number of games, barely managed to achieve three points in half of them?
"My Chelsea beat those numbers completely, reaching well over 70 league victories, winning two championships in a row without blinking and leaving the directors of the Premier League on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Perhaps I won too soon. I felt, at times, that I was the victim of my own success, that although the victories in championships and cups have a special meaning in my career, perhaps they came too early.
"In the whole history of the Premier League I was the first manager to become a champion in his first season.

"The same people who say that Mourinho bought success forget the investment that Manchester United have made during many years. How much did Rio Ferdinand cost?
"What do those people think when it's announced Liverpool and Rafa Benitez have got £70 million to spend on signings for the season?
"They don't think about it because Liverpool haven't been champions for over 10 years."
Surprisingly, current Chelsea boss Avram Grant escaped criticism, as Mourinho added: "How many championships has Benitez won since he joined Liverpool? None. And how many names were suggested by the Press to replace him? None.

"How many years did Ferguson and Wenger take before they won their first English title? They needed five years to get there.
"And how many years was it necessary to wait before the Press entertained itself with discovering whether or not Wenger would be replaced at Arsenal? 10 years."
Mourinho's paranoid tendencies surfaced as he alleged: "The difference is between the way Chelsea are treated and the discreet way that Wenger and Ferguson have managed to get through all the rainy spells.
"Wenger has a more stable situation, which allows him to be defensive in his relationships.
"When I said my player is the best in the world, I was taking a risk. I risked my reputation. I risked people considering me mad."

Grant defiant as vultures begin to circle

Chelsea boss Avram Grant is adamant he will still be in charge of the Premier League club next season - and has never been put under any pressure to win silverware.
Grant was vilified by the fans after the club's 1-1 draw with Wigan on Monday night effectively banished their title ambitions for another season.
Chelsea are five points adrift of Manchester United at the top of the Premier and their chances will disappear all together if they fail to beat Everton at Goodison Park.
'We feel pressure all the time but it is a good pressure - I don't want to live without this pressure,' he said.

'We are still fighting and will continue fighting even if the chances have been against us from day one.
'If the club is not happy with me tomorrow or 10 years from now it is okay. It is a good relationship and that is what it needs to be.
'I need to do my job for Chelsea and that is what is important.
'Nobody told me I had to win a trophy this season but I want to win one. Most of the fans respect what we did for them and we respect what they did for us.
'We took a lot of points with so many injured players and with so many problems. But there was a good spirit shown by the team. The fans are like us, sometimes we are disappointed also. But most of the time we did a good job.
'I was at the game against Rosenborg earlier this season and heard the booing at half-time - I had never heard that before. But most of the time the fans are behind us. You cannot win every game and I think they know it.'
Grant understandably refused to put names in the frame for the club's summer transfer business but is clearly planning to raid Europe and match the spending of their English rivals.
'We know the vision of the club and the money won't be a problem if we find good players to bring here,' Grant said.
'So you could say £80 million or £100 million but we don't have the advantage that we had two or three years ago.
'We know that Manchester United will spend a lot of money and Arsenal will buy a few players as well as Liverpool. We will do the same. We want to improve.'
Grant's preparation for their 'must-win' clash against Everton has been hampered further by an astonishing outburst from Israeli defender Tal Ben Haim.
The centre-back was alleged to have said that he would have signed for another club if he had known that Jose Mourinho was to be axed and Grant put in charge.
The comments could earn Ben Haim a club fine unless he can produce an explanation.
'It is an internal matter and we will deal with it like this - we know we need to hear from the player first if it is true or not,' Grant said.
'I don't think Jose promised Tal Ben-Haim that he would play before John Terry, Ricardo Carvalho and Alex but maybe yes. I will ask Tal.
'It is internal business but in my opinion if the player was wrong we need to deal with it in my way.'
Grant could also be without two key players as striker Didier Drogba is struggling with a knee injury and Frank Lampard remains on compassionate leave after his mother fell ill.
Grant confirmed that Lampard had missed training this week to remain with his family and with the squad flying to Merseyside on Wednesday afternoon, Lampard is unlikely to figure in his plans.
'It is a personal matter with Frank,' Grant added. 'I tell the players all the time that football is very important but sometimes there are things that need to be taken care of. This is more important and I understand that. I hope everything will be okay.
'Frank has not been training he has been at hospital with his mum. I know the feeling and it is not good.
'Drogba didn't train on Tuesday but he is doing everything to be available for us as soon as possible.'

Redknapp launches legal action against police

Portsmouth manager Harry Redknapp has launched a court action against police for arresting him as part of a corruption inquiry.
With his wife, Sandra, Redknapp has lodged an action at the Administrative Court of the High Courts of Justice in London.
They are hoping to gain a judicial review of the police's decision to issue a warrant to raid the couple's home in Sandbanks, Poole, Dorset, and to arrest and bail Redknapp.
A spokesman for the court confirmed that an action had been received and a first hearing would be held on May 2.

A City of London Police press officer said the force would not comment on the action.
Redknapp held a press conference following his release on bail and spoke of his 'bitter disappointment' at the way the raid and his arrest had been handled.
He complained that the police arrived at his home at 6am accompanied by photographers from a national newspaper.
And he said he believed he had only been arrested because he was a 'high-profile' figure.
Redknapp was not available for comment today.
A total of nine people are on bail in connection with the ongoing City of London Police inquiry with the most recent being Birmingham co-owner David Sullivan and managing director Karren Brady who were arrested and questioned last week.

Eriksson future to be decided in summer - Thaksin

DUBAI, April 16 (Reuters) - Manchester City owner and chairman Thaksin Shinawatra has no immediate plans to fire coach Sven-Goran Eriksson but will assess the Swede's performance at the end of the season.
Asked by reporters in Dubai on Wednesday whether Eriksson's job at the Premier League club was in jeopardy, Thaksin said: 'There are no plans at the moment. We will have to evaluate at the end of the season.'

British newspapers have reported that Thaksin, a billionaire former Thai prime minister who bought City last year, was unhappy with the former England manager and was in talks to replace him with Portugal coach Luiz Felipe Scolari.
Manchester City made a strong start to the season but have slipped to eighth in the standings.
• Manchester City will join Italian club Juventus will face Hong Kong treble winners South China in two exhibition matches in Hong Kong next month.
Sven-Goran Eriksson's City will face a South China Invitation team at the 40,000 seater Hong Kong Stadium on May 22, before Claudio Ranieri's Juve take on South China.
Hong Kong League, FA Cup and Senior Shield winners South China finished fourth in July's Barclays Asia Trophy after losing to Barclays Premier League duo Liverpool and Fulham.
Juventus' Asia-Pacific Tour is expected to take place between May 19-31 and include two more games, while City are expected to also play in Thailand, the home country of chairman Thaksin Shinawatra, the country's former prime minister.