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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Sep 26, 2006

Jose defends out-of-sorts striker Shevchenko

Mourinho has assured Andriy Shevchenko he will keep his place in Chelsea's Champions League trip to Levski Sofia despite his lack of goals.

Shevchenko has scored only once in six Premiership games since his £30million summer move to Chelsea from AC Milan.

Mourinho said: 'The goals will come. He knows I trust him.

'He doesn't have that pressure that the sword is waiting and if you don't score a goal you are out of the team.

'No, he is in the team again.

'He will score goals. He is such a top player in the world he has nothing to prove.

'If he is one, two or three months without scoring goals, he is still one of the best strikers in the world.'

Shevchenko, 29, has more Champions League goals than any other player in the history of the competition.

He scored nine in 12 Champions League games for AC Milan last season but drew another blank on his European debut for Chelsea against Bremen.

The Ukraine striker scored in the FA Community Shield against Liverpool but his only competitive goal for his new club came in the 2-1 defeat at Middlesbrough, more than a month ago.

He is five games without a goal and has yet to produce anything like his best form but his manager was satisfied with his unselfish efforts in Saturday's 2-0 win at Fulham.

Mourinho said: 'I know strikers, they live for goals. Their happiness is more about scoring goals but he gave me a big contribution at Fulham.

'At half-time, I only wanted to say one thing and I told him, if they wanted to play man-for-man in midfield, we had to get an extra player to go into that space, to get the ball and play from there.

'That player cannot be (Didier) Drogba. It has to be Sheva because he is confident with a ball at his feet. He can receive and turn and pass.

'In the second half, he had a big responsibility for the way we broke down the defensive strategy of Fulham.

'I'm happy with the contribution he gave us.'

Mourinho has changed his successful 4-3-3 formation to accommodate Shevchenko and Didier Drogba up front and will not abandon his plan.

The Chelsea boss said: 'It works. Chelsea are winning matches. Chelsea are scoring goals. The combination is working. He is a team player.'

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