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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Dec 5, 2006

Mourinho backs Sheva to break Muller record

Jose Mourinho hailed goalscorers Andriy Shevchenko and Shaun Wright-Phillips as Chelsea finished winners of Champions League Group A.

Ukrainian striker Shevchenko scored his first goal in the competition for the English champions since his £30 million move from AC Milan, while Wright-Phillips finally found the target after 52 appearances for the club.

Shevchenko's strike took his tally to 57 in European football - making him the second highest scorer of all time. He is still five behind Gerd Muller but Mourinho is convinced he can become the best ever.

Mourinho said: 'I am happy with Sheva and the team because the team did the job.

'Sheva scored a goal and it is one that puts him ahead of Eusebio in the top scorers in the history of European football.

'He is just behind Gerd Muller but he is only 30 years of age and with a few years of Champions League football in front of him, he can jump to the best ever.

'He has only one goal for us in the Champions League but hopefully he can score more in the knockout stage to help us go further in the competition.'

Wright-Phillips has been the subject of recent transfer speculation involving London neighbours West Ham, but Mourinho wants the winger to stay at Stamford Bridge.

Mourinho declared: 'I am happy for him. He is a special case. He is a boy that deserves to be happy. He is a great professional.

'Normally he has chances coming from the substitute's bench for 20 or 25 minutes. It is not easy for him to express the qualities he has doing that.

'I am not giving him a lot of chances from the start of matches but talk of him leaving his just speculation.

'I want him to stay. We know the squad is good in quality but short on numbers.

'We cannot lose players. We have 19 outfield players for the four competitions we are still involved in - we need every player.

'If the answers from him are positive ones then that is good for me, the team and for the boy. His future does not depend on a goal he scored.'

Mourinho was satisfied with the team's work on a night when victory sent them to the top of the group.

But he admitted that his players were not at their maximum level ahead of Sunday's crucial clash with Arsenal in the Barclays Premiership.

Mourinho added: 'We just needed a win to finish the job and be first in the group.

'We have a big month in front of us and the players did not play at their maximum and I did not demand a lot from them.

'Sofia were a footballing team and they didn't come here to defend or be aggressive.

'The game was quite easy and played in an easy way - almost like a friendly.

'But what matters is that we got three points and finished first in the group. It was perhaps the most difficult group of the first phase.

'But we kept a clean sheet in terms of yellow cards and injuries. Now we can forget about the Champions League for the two or three months and think only about the Premiership and other English cups.'

The Chelsea manager admitted there was a doubt over the fitness of Italian goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini for Sunday's clash with Arsenal.

He was prevented from playing against Sofia due to a muscle injury sustained against Bolton and is doubtful for Sunday.

Mourinho said: 'If I don't have Carlo I have Hilario and Magnus Hedman. We have permission from the Premier League to play him.

'Carlo has a muscle injury which the scan has confirmed. He did it taking the last goal-kick against Bolton.'

Mourinho admitted he was still feeling the effects of the medication he is taking for his migraine attack which left him in hospital for tests on Monday.

The Portuguese coach appeared a little down in his post match media conference and said: 'It is because of the medication I am taking for these kind of headaches.

'Normally you take the medication and after a couple of hours I am fine.

'I had this for two or three days - it is a migraine. But I have never had them before. It is making me a bit down in terms of energy but I think the cold weather helped.'

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