Mourinho: Ballack top-class

16 April 2007 07:28
Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho hailed matchwinner Michael Ballack after the Blues reached the FA Cup final with a 2-1 semi-final extra-time win over Blackburn Rovers at Old Trafford. Germany star Ballack has come in for some criticism since his summer arrival, but Mourinho is more than happy with the contribution of the former Bayern Munich ace. He said: "He's been brilliant, a real winner. "Michael Ballack has been a top professional since day one. He fights for the team in an unbelievable way and is doing a very good job for us." Meanwhile, Mourinho admitted that he was worried that Rovers would win the day during the second half of normal time, as they stormed back to draw level and nearly snatch a late winner. "I was afraid," the Portuguese added. "If they had scored at the end of normal time, the game would probably have been over. "I thought that Blackburn were amazing. They fought like heroes and all of them deserve all my respect, because they were amazing and gave us a really good game. "It is sad because one team has to lose, but they must be proud of themselves. "My team must be proud also. We are still on for the quadruple and we must enjoy that. We could win all four, or we could lose the next three, but we live in the moment and are happy."

Source: ESA