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Older players have key roles - Mourinho

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24 Feb 2014 08:31:55

Older players have key roles - Mourinho

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho believes it is imperative his side have an experienced core as they journey to Istanbul for Wednesday's Champions League clash with Galatasaray.

The last-16 first-leg tie features numerous subplots: Didier Drogba playing against the side for whom he scored the European Cup-winning penalty in 2012; Mourinho versus Roberto Mancini, who he succeeded as Inter Milan boss before the Italian took charge at Manchester City; and Dutch playmaker Wesley Sneijder playing against his former boss Mourinho.

The contest takes place in the cauldron of the Turk Telekom Arena, where Mourinho's Real Madrid lost their quarter-final second leg last term, advancing as a result of a handsome win at home in the first leg.

Mourinho will appreciate the experience of captain John Terry - the scorer of the winner in Saturday's 1-0 defeat of Everton on his return from a three-game absence - Frank Lampard and Petr Cech in such a hostile environment.

Some of his squad are yet to taste knockout competition in the European Cup, as Chelsea were eliminated at the group stage last term before responding to win the Europa League.

"That's exactly why they belong to this project," Mourinho said.

"You could say this project is a project for the future. We only want to do this project with young players that have a 10-years future.

"No. We decided clearly from the beginning that the best way to develop the other guys is to have a nucleus of players like they are.

"They are important in the evolution of the team too.

"These older players in Chelsea they have a big history in the Champions League. They've experienced everything in the Champions League.

"The most important thing for us in the Champions League is to have a feeling of knockout Champions League for the players that never did it.

"This is the first time that they play, some of them. Oscar and Hazard and these kind of guys."

Terry converted Lampard's free-kick in stoppage time for Chelsea to beat Everton 1-0 on Saturday and consolidate their position at the top of the Premier League.

Both players, and Ashley Cole, are out of contract at the end of this season.

Mourinho expects Terry and Lampard to be offered new deals and has previously spoken of anticipating an offer to be made to Cole, too, despite the left-back being out of favour at present.

"If they get a contract in this club, which probably they will, they will do based on performance, based on the quality they are showing," Mourinho added.

"It will not be because they are legends or because we owe them something or because they want to stay here at any cost. They are performing."


PA

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