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50-50: Liverpool vs. Real Madrid

Champions League 1 day ago
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By ESPN Staff
Dec 16, 2006

Carvalho in, Cudicini out for Chelsea?

Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho hopes to have Ricardo Carvalho fit to face Everton but admits Italian goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini will miss the trip.

Cudicini has already missed three games since straining a leg muscle against Bolton while Carvalho has been playing through the pain barrier with an ankle problem that has lingered on for three weeks.

However, while Mourinho was forced to withdraw the centre-half from the action against Newcastle in midweek, the Chelsea manager insists he has a chance to play against the Toffees.

Mourinho declared: 'Carlo is improving, but not ready. Joe Cole is out, John Obi is almost good but still out and Ricardo is a possibility to play.'

The Chelsea manager is under no illusions it will be a tough test at Goodison even though they have scored only four goals in their last eight games.

Mourinho added: 'They have good attacking players and I don't think David Moyes is the kind of guy just to defend. They attack you. They are a dangerous teams.

'We are not scoring a lot of goals for what we produce. We have a lot of chances. The posts are against us. I think one day we have to score more goals.'

Mourinho will be hoping a man he has re-nicknamed `The Train' will keep his title charge on track against the Toffees.

Michael Essien, was formerly known as the `Bison' at the club but Mourinho decided that his express performances warranted a change to his moniker.

Essien said: 'It was the manager who came up with the new nickname for me at the start of the season. It is because he said I go up and down the pitch and was more like a train than a bison. It has stuck.'

Essien's 35-yard wonder goal spared Chelsea from their first home defeat under Mourinho against Arsenal last Sunday and the first thing he did after the game was take a phone call from his mum back in Ghana.

'I also phone her every day,' he said.

'She has not been to see any games but she will do soon. She called me after the Arsenal game and was really happy.

'Everybody back home are now Chelsea fans because I play for them.'

Although Chelsea are chasing leaders Manchester at the top of the table, Essien believes they may crack under the pressure of trying to stay there.

He added: 'I think they can feel us coming. So we'll see what happens.'

Meanwhile Mourinho says his former club deserve respect after Chelsea were drawn against Porto in the last 16 of the Champions League.

Mourinho led Porto to glory in the Champions League in 2004 and although they have since met in the group stages of the competition, this will be the first time they have faced each other in a knockout round since Mourinho took charge at Stamford Bridge.