Chelsea striker Michael Ballack wary of facing old boss Jose Mourinho

20 February 2010 12:03
Michael Ballack is looking forward to meeting up with Jose Mourinhoagain next week, but recognises the perils of taking on the Inter Milancoach.  

Chelsea travel to face their former manager's team at the San Siroon Wednesday having been drawn against what Ballack insists was theworst possible opponent in the Champions League. 

Mutual respect: Michael Ballack (left) listens to Jose Mourinho

Mourinho knows the Blues all too well having constructed much of their squad himself. 

'We have unfortunately, as group winners, been given the toughest draw possible,' said the Chelsea midfielder.  

'But that doesn't bother us - we are looking forward to it, also because the former manager Jose Mourinho is coming.

'He still knows us all very well and that gives this game a special explosiveness.'  

Although it is already more than two and a half years since Mourinholeft the Premier League club, his legacy lives on in the squad whichhas largely remained intact.   Ballack himself was one of Mourinho'ssignings when he arrived on a free transfer from Bayern Munich and heexpects his former manager to be all clued up about his opponents nextweek.  

'There won't be any information that Mourinho doesn't know about,'said Ballack in an interview with Germany's Sat.1 television.  

'He always knew everything about every opponent, every player and every tactic.  

'He knows the players from his time here and only a few new oneshave arrived, but the core of the team has remained the same.  

'He gave us our style of play which has not changed over the last few years.' 

And the Germany captain knows it is going to be tough eliminatingthe Nerazzurri, who he named as one of the favourites to win thecompetition this season.   

Master planner: Mourinho (left) will have a plan for facing Chelsea, says Ballack (right)

'Of course Barcelona as holders and also Manchester United are always among (the favourites),' he said. 

'Then there are teams like Inter, Real Madrid and even Bayern Munich.  

'Bayern enjoy a lot of respect throughout Europe and their current positive run of form is being noticed.' 

If Bayern are to win the Champions League this season, Ballackwould prefer it if another of his former clubs won the Bundesliga.  

Ballack was part of the Leverkusen side which finished runners-up inthe Bundesliga, Champions League and DFB-Pokal in 2002 and he iskeeping his fingers crossed that they can go one better this year. 

'Leverkusen have the title in their own hands,' he said. 'It is onlya question of whether they can confirm their performances which, it hasto be said, were not expected to be so strong. 

'But I believe that this young team has learned from recent years. 

'I would be overjoyed if they won the league. After all these years, they really have deserved it.'.

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Source: Daily_Mail