Blues are bound to improve – Mou

first_img Mourinho would not fault his performance, although he recognised the Germany forward, like the team, is not at his best yet. The Portuguese said: “He really wanted to make an impact in that game, and his performance was really good. It was important for him to play 90 minutes. “He was one of the guys, like the Brazilians, who reached the last stage of the World Cup, his holiday was very short. “In this last part of the World Cup, we had players in the same position: Ramires, Willian, Oscar and Schurrle. I couldn’t say ‘you four, holidays, I can do without you’, because I couldn’t do without them. “I need them and I need them step by step. Not one of them is in super form, like (Cesc) Fabregas, (Nemanja) Matic, (Branislav) Ivanovic. At this moment, they’re not. It has to be step by step.” The Blues, who face Aston Villa on Saturday, dropped points for the first time last weekend in drawing at defending champions Manchester City. Diego Costa, who has scored seven goals in five Premier League games, will return despite his ongoing hamstring trouble against Villa, with the Blues seeking a fifth victory in their sixth game. Jose Mourinho has warned the Barclays Premier League that Chelsea have plenty of room for improvement this season despite their impressive start. “I don’t go for six, seven or eight (marks) out of 10,” Mourinho said. “We have to improve in every aspect. No doubt. “We were deadly on the counter-attack against Everton (winning 6-3), we were fantastic with the way we defended collectively against Man City. “We’ve had very good periods. But, in the end, what is important is that in this moment nobody is ahead of us. “We look down and see the other 19 teams. Nobody is on top of us.” Mourinho made nine changes for Wednesday’s Capital One Cup defeat of Bolton and is likely to revert to the majority of the line-up which began at Manchester City, although Ramires is out with a groin injury. The Blues boss insisted his fringe players impressed in midweek despite making hard work of the Sky Bet Championship strugglers in winning 2-1. World Cup winner Andre Schurrle missed a number of opportunities. Press Associationlast_img read more

Premier League: Leicester’s Ranieri Returns to Chelsea as Champion

first_imgClaudio Ranieri’s Premier League story comes full circle today as he returns in triumph to Chelsea for the final fixture of title-winners Leicester City’s momentous and historic season. Ranieri’s sacking by Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich in May 2004 set in motion a succession of managerial posts – at Valencia, Parma, Juventus, Roma, Inter Milan, Monaco and the Greek national team – that seemed to confirm his reputation as one of football’s eternal nearly men.But Leicester’s 5000-1 success has earned him sporting immortality and when he returns to the Stamford Bridge touchline, the 64-year-old Italian will do so as a hero.“It is amazing,” Ranieri said. “I have been back there with Juventus in the Champions League, but this time is different because this time it is with Leicester, another English club. “It is emotional. I hope my old fans are happy. When I came here, I said ‘The last match is at Chelsea. Wow.’ Now I come back as a champion. It’s a good story.”Ranieri’s engaging character and gift for a soundbite made him a popular figure during the three and a half years he spent at Chelsea. But his tactical tweaking earned him the nickname of ‘Tinkerman’ from the British media and despite four seasons of steady progress, culminating in a second-place finish in 2003-04, he was sacked because Abramovich reportedly felt that he could not win the league.Nevertheless, he brought in some of the players who were to form the core of the team that would win back-to-back league titles under his successor, Jose Mourinho, blooding John Terry and notably signing Frank Lampard, Claude Makelele, Joe Cole and William Gallas.It was Chelsea, ironically, whose 2-2 draw with Tottenham Hotspur two weeks ago delivered the title to the King Power Stadium and as the minutes ticked down at Stamford Bridge, a chant of “There’s only one Ranieri!” echoed around the ground.Leicester’s players will receive a guard of honour from their opponents when they take to the field, but regardless of the formalities, they still have milestones in sight.Should Tottenham lose at Newcastle United and third-place Arsenal fail to beat Aston Villa, a Leicester victory will give them a winning margin of 13 points – the joint-second-biggest gap since three points for a win was introduced in 1981.Jamie Vardy, meanwhile, trails Tottenham’s Harry Kane by just one goal in the race for the Golden Boot, having taken his tally to 24 with a brace in the 3-1 win over Everton last weekend that preceded Leicester’s trophy presentation.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegramlast_img read more