By Trevor Haylett in London
With two games remaining in the UEFA Champions League group stage, José Mourinho is a manager free of pressure, his Chelsea FC team guaranteed to finish top of Group H. Nevertheless he has reassured all the sides challenging for second place that Chelsea's motivation and energy levels will not relent in these final fixtures.
On Wednesday Chelsea complete their home matches with the visit of Paris Saint-Germain FC who, along with PFC CSKA Moskva and FC Porto, still hold qualifying hopes. It was no surprise to hear Mourinho say he will be resting three players yet those who turn out will be expected to give their all.
"I have spoken to the players and told them that we are a better team than PSG," he said. "But many, many times in football, motivation makes the difference. CSKA and Porto play before us so when PSG get on to the pitch they will know if they need a draw or the three points and they will be full of motivation.
"If we allow PSG to have a bigger commitment and motivation than us, then we have no chance. After the game in Moscow I told the CSKA manager that in the games with PSG and Porto we will be fighting for a result. I want the second best team to be in the next round with us."
First-team regulars Petr Cech, Paulo Ferreira and Claude Makelele will play no part, meaning a rare opportunity for Carlo Cudicini, Glen Johnson and Scott Parker. In addition, striker Didier Drogba will be on the bench after seven weeks out with a groin injury. The manager has indicated he will be given around 30 minutes to ease his way back.
"It has been difficult for me but
I am very happy to be back," said the Ivory Coast forward who scored twice in the 3-0 win in Paris on Matchday 1. "Of course it will be difficult to get back in the team but if the coach calls for me I will give my best."
Strangely, the scenario is similar to Chelsea's previous home match in the competition which was preceded by a defeat - their one and only reverse in 20 games this season. After that came an eight-game winning run which was interrupted on Saturday when Bolton Wanderers FC retrieved a 2-0 deficit to share the points at Stamford Bridge, the first time in Mourinho's managerial career that such an advantage had been whittled away.
"The reaction of the players immediately afterwards was a bad reaction and I am happy with that because no one was happy," he said. "It was not a good result for us but when you wake up the next day and we are top of the league, top of our group in the Champions League and we are in the quarter-finals of the Carling (League) Cup then we have not many reasons to be unhappy."
PSG coach Vahid Halilhodzic believes they are facing one of the two best teams in Europe, along with Barcelona FC, but nevertheless is confident they can do better than in the first match between the sides.
"If we can keep the ball tomorrow and don't lose it, if we have a better technique then we can do well," he said. "But we are facing a team that I believe can go on and win the Champions League." Danijel Ljuboja is missing through injury but Charles-Edouard Coridon is fit to return.
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