By Trevor Haylett in London
Chelsea FC are anxious to secure their qualifying prize in the UEFA Champions League sooner rather than later, and believe that victory against PFC CSKA Moskva at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday will assure them of a place in the knockout rounds.
"Nine or ten points always gets a team into the next stage," said Chelsea manager José Mourinho, whose side already have six in Group H. "And if we win against Moscow it will be fantastic for us because we will be there. The other teams will have to think about only one position because Chelsea will be in the next stage."
It had been a fantastic start to Mourinho's reign at the London club with those two Champions League victories against Paris Saint-Germain FC and his former club FC Porto, and eight games unbeaten in the Premiership. It all came undone at Manchester City FC last weekend, however, as Chelsea tasted defeat for the first time and it has left them keen to make immediate amends.
"We know the result on Saturday was bad but it was not deserved," said Mourinho. "Good players and a good manager do not become bad because of one defeat. We are happy people because we don't lose too many times and it is a feeling we don't want to repeat. We have studied our opponents and we know they will be really difficult, but we are looking forward to it very much and
I have no doubt that my players will give me a good answer."
A lack of goals in the league has been a constant Chelsea theme in the first few weeks of the season and the situation has been thrown into sharper relief with two of their strikers unavailable. Didier Drogba will be out for another four weeks with a groin injury while Adrian Mutu misses out having admitted to testing positive for cocaine, though the club have still to comment officially on the matter.
Drogba has been responsible for half of Chelsea's six Champions League goals - amazingly they have scored only two more in nine Premiership games - which have earned them a two-point lead over CSKA at the head of Group H. In his absence Mateja Kezman (no goals) and Eidur Gudjohnsen (no goals since the first game of the season) will continue in attack. "I trust them and I hope this will be a good day for them," Mourinho declared.
The visitors went to the top of the Russian Premier League on Saturday following a 2-0 home victory against FC Rostov. If they score at Stamford Bridge it will be their first-ever Champions League away goal but they will also be anxious to maintain their record of keeping clean sheets in both the first two games - a draw with Porto and win against PSG.
CSKA coach Valeriy Gazzaev has ruled striker Ivica Olic out of contention through injury but defender Deividas Semberas and midfield player Rolan Gusev are both fit. "
Chelsea are one of the best clubs in Europe and it will be a hard, difficult game," said Gazzaev. "We believe our chances are good and we will be doing everything we can to get a good result. "
Gazzaev added that the fact that Chelsea had just tasted defeat for the first time would make no difference on Wednesday night. "They are a good team with good players and a good manager. Their defeat will have nothing to do with this match."
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