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Flores fears Chelsea backlash

Valencia CF coach Quique Sánchez Flores insists the form book will count for little when his side take on Chelsea FC in a repeat of last season's quarter-final.

Chelsea captain John Terry trained wearing an eye mask
Chelsea captain John Terry trained wearing an eye mask ©Getty Images

The contrast could hardly be greater: Valencia CF are riding high in the Primera División with five successive wins while Chelsea FC are in an uncharacteristic slump with no victory and no goals in four Premier League outings.

Flores cautious
Add the absence of José Mourinho, who left the manager's position at Stamford Bridge following the 1-1 home draw with Rosenborg BK on Matchday 1, plus reports suggesting the London club are lacking stability at present, and there would appear to be only one winner on Wednesday. Yet Valencia coach Quique Sánchez Flores does not believe the departure of Mourinho offers his team any advantage as the sides renew acquaintances in Group B.

Warm tribute 
Flores spoke admiringly of Mourinho's "great methodology and the control he had over his players" but cautioned: "The Chelsea players are the same even though the manager has changed. We don't see this as a positive for us. It's not the trainer we are playing, it's the team, and we can't contemplate the consequences of that [the managerial change] at the moment. We have to face the fact Chelsea really want to win the Champions League and have wanted to win it for some time. But I have a good feeling about the game. It will be a big crowd and we want to take good things out if it."

Rich vein 
Valencia, who started with a 1-0 win at FC Schalke 04, have no need to worry about any opponent with their run of form hoisting them up to third place in Spain. They say they are in better shape now than when the teams met in April and Michael Essien's 90th-minute winner blasted Chelsea to their third semi-final in the last four seasons. Flores can even afford to consider the luxury of leaving out Santiago Cañizares, the goalkeeper who has become a talismanic figure at the Mestalla through their years of success. The former Spanish international is fit after a muscle tear but the performances of his replacement, Timo Hildebrand, have been such that he may retain the jersey.

Terry dilemma 
Chelsea will seek medical advice before deciding whether to throw John Terry straight back into the fray after he underwent surgery on a fractured cheekbone on Sunday. New coach Avram Grant said of his captain, who would take to the field in a mask: "He wants to play, which is good for us." Chelsea continue to be without the injured Frank Lampard but Didier Drogba will be a welcome boost after missing the Rosenborg game. Grant concedes that points are the priority; any designs on a more entertaining approach, which is what owner Roman Abramovich is said to crave, will have to wait. "We lost two points at home in the first match, against what is on paper the weakest team in the group, so we need a good result if we want to continue in the Champions League," he said.

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