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Barca attack picking up steam

Barcelona about an hour ago
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By ESPN Staff
Dec 11, 2006

'It's not over', Mourinho warns Sir Alex

Jose Mourinho has warned Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson not to rest on his laurels despite Chelsea being eight points adrift of the leaders.

Michael Essien's 84th-minute goal rescued a point for the champions after Mathieu Flamini's goal looked to have given Arsenal victory yesterday.

However, Chelsea coach Mourinho insists they are not daunted by United's lead.

'I think he (Ferguson) must be happy now because we can say we dropped two points, but if he thinks it's over he is in trouble,' Mourinho told Sky Sports 1.

'Chelsea are ready, we were losing at home with five minutes to go but we had an incredible reaction and should have won the game.

'I think the gap will be five points after Wednesday (after the Newcastle game).

'After that let's do it, let's enjoy it. Going in front is better but let's chase them.'

Ferguson has expressed his concern at the influence television schedules will have on the outcome of the title.

He saw his United side defeat Manchester City 3-1 just 63 hours after the completion of their Champions League win over Benfica.

Ferguson is clearly concerned about what may happen when the Europe's elite competition cranks up again next spring.

He said: 'I don't think TV has been fair to us.

'We have just had three games in eight days and to go from playing on a Wednesday night to Saturday lunchtime is not easy.

'This could easily have been a Sunday game, which would have given us a proper chance to prepare.

'Instead, all we did was rest the players, then tell them to go out and grit their teeth.'

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez admits the next month is an important one for his team but he will not be paying too much attention to the table.

'We need to keep it going and we are watching every game,' he said after the 4-0 victory against Fulham.

'After one or two months we will see what the situation is.

'Now it is important to see all the players ready because December is a very difficult month with a lot of games in a row.

'Being fourth in the table is not the most important thing for me now and we are not watching the table every week.'

Tottenham boss Martin Jol is looking for his young English talent to help qualify for Champions League.

Ledley King, Aaron Lennon, Michael Dawson and Tom Huddlestone are giving the club a boost and helped Spurs defeat Charlton 5-1 at White Hart Lane.

Jol said: 'Lennon was 17 and he came here.

'Dawson and Huddlestone were also young and they are all improving.'

Newcastle boss Glenn Roeder believes Obafemi Martins is starting to make the critics eat their words.

The £10million summer signing from Inter Milan scored a brace in the 3-1 defeat of Blackburn.

Roeder said: 'I've warned people who have not been too complimentary about him to be careful because when he comes good he will score.

'I feel come the end of the season we will have seen plenty more goals from him.'

Gareth Southgate is backing Mark Viduka to spark a revival at Middlesbrough.

The 31-year-old Australian's return from fractured toes gave his side a much needed focal point as they drew 1-1 with Wigan.

Boro boss Southgate said: 'Mark was desperate to get back into playing and he was a big presence for us.

'When he is in that sort of form, he is almost unplayable for centre-halves.'

Matthew Taylor played down his stunning 45-yard volley which set Portsmouth on their way to a 2-0 victory against Everton.

He said: 'I knew what I wanted to do and it was nice to see it go in.

'But if it had kept on going up I guess there would have been a few laughs and a few obscenities in the air.

'It gave us a great start against Everton and I thought that overall we deserved to win the game. We are doing well.'

Alan Pardew believes the next few weeks will shape West Ham's season.

A home game against Manchester United on Sunday is followed by matches with Fulham, Portsmouth, Manchester City and Reading.

The Hammers boss said: 'We have a run of games where we are up against teams on an even par to us.

'We need to pick up as many points as possible as quickly as we can.'

Watford defender Jay DeMerit has admitted the pressure is on the club's forwards to drag them out of the relegation zone.

'It is a frustrating thing,' DeMerit said after the 0-0 draw against Reading.

'The forwards need to make sure that the next time they get a chance, they score. We need victories and we need them quickly.'