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Rothen eggs on Monaco

Published: Tuesday 4 May 2004, 20.55CET
AS Monaco FC winger Jérôme Rothen believes concentration will count against Chelsea FC.

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Published: Tuesday 4 May 2004, 20.55CET

Rothen eggs on Monaco

AS Monaco FC winger Jérôme Rothen believes concentration will count against Chelsea FC.
By Ben Lyttleton

AS Monaco FC winger Jérôme Rothen is battling to be fit for the UEFA Champions League semi-final second leg against Chelsea FC, but has warned his team-mates to take nothing for granted.
 
Carpe diem
The French side lead 3-1 after a pulsating first game at Stade Louis II, and the winger has exhorted his team-mates to seize their opportunity of reaching the final. "We must not let this chance slip by," Rothen told uefa.com. "We're just 90 minutes away from the final and there's nothing better than that."

Race against time
Rothen was a casualty in Monaco's 2-1 win against OGC Nice at the weekend and now faces a fitness test ahead of Wednesday's game at Stamford Bridge. His absence from Didier Deschamps' side would be a huge loss as he was one of the stars of the first leg.
 
Opening goal
Rothen set up Monaco's opening goal, crossing for Dado Pršo to power a header into the top corner. Chelsea then equalised through Hernán Crespo, and the game looked to be going the visitors' way when Monaco midfield player Akis Zikos was sent off after 53 minutes.

'Extra impetus'
The dismissal proved a turning-point as Monaco seized the initiative, winning the game with two late goals. "We all made more effort after [the sending off]," said Rothen. "We gave our all and thanks to that extra impetus, we were able to take the chances that came our way."

Decisive passes
The second-half Monaco goals were also created by Rothen. First, his cross was flicked on by captain Ludovic Giuly for Fernando Morientes to rifle home a second and, minutes later, another centre was touched on by Shabani Nonda for a third goal.

On form
Rothen admitted that his form had dipped after the winter break but he is now back to his best: "I feel like my form has returned and I had a good game against Chelsea, especially in the second half."

Nervous moments
He will need to show more of the same at Stamford Bridge, especially as Chelsea only need a 2-0 win to make the Gelsenkirchen final on 26 May. "If we let a goal in early on, then it could go crazy," said Rothen. "Chelsea are capable of turning things round, but if we keep fighting for each other, we can go a long way."

Home comforts
Experience has taught Rothen that Chelsea will benefit from the home advantage. Having played in England for his old club ES Troyes Aube Champagne in UEFA Cup ties against Newcastle United FC and Leeds United AFC, Rothen said: "I know English football a little bit, and I'm aware that the crowd can really lift a team and help them turn things round. The game at Stamford Bridge will be hot."

Physical challenge
He added: "Chelsea will throw everything at us and we're going to have to make sure we stand up to the challenge - especially in the physical duels like we did in the first leg, mainly in the second half. They tried to play hard but we stood up to them."

Taste for success
Rothen has enjoyed his first taste of Champions League action this season and does not want it to end now. "I'm pleased to be playing matches at this level and to be holding my own," he said. "These are the games which allow you to judge your level and to see just how far you can go."

Last updated: 05/05/04 20.54CET

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