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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Aug 9, 2007

Pizarro determined to win starting place

Claudio Pizarro has set his sights on becoming the 'number one striker at Chelsea'.

With last season's leading goalscorer Didier Drogba currently sidelined because of a knee problem, the summer signing from Bayern Munich could be in line to lead the attack against Birmingham when the new campaign kicks off.

Peruvian hitman Pizarro played during the second half of the Blues' FA Community Shield clash with Manchester United at Wembley, which they lost on penalties.

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has described the 28-year-old as a 'typical British striker' and the former Werder Bremen player does not intend to disappoint, should opportunity come his way.

'I am not in England to be a substitute for Drogba,' Pizarro said. 'He and Andriy Shevchenko are superstars but Claudio Pizarro is not lame and I will compete with them.

'My dream is to be the number one striker at Chelsea. I am not scared about having rivals for my place.'

The Blues coaching staff have pledged to be more expansive, having recruited fresh faces over the summer which Mourinho feels can adapt to a 4-4-2 formation as well as their trusted diamond which proved so successful in recent years.

However, given the number of injuries to the Chelsea squad, just who will be on the team sheet for the opening of the new Barclays Premier League season remains to be seen.

Full-back Ashley Cole is the latest player to have picked up a knock, reportedly a calf problem, adding to Mourinho's defensive headache with captain John Terry already sidelined for around a month because of his knee injury.

Mourinho feels whomever he puts into the side must be flexible, rather than just looking to slot into a traditional English formation with two widemen and two strikers in front of the back four.

The Chelsea manager maintains that can be beneficial in Europe.

'We can see a lot of teams playing a very good possession game, we can see a lot of teams playing with players between the lines, a lot of teams thinking tactically from game to game and not playing always the typical 4-4-2 they used to play every game,' he said.

'A lot of teams are playing with three midfielders and sometimes with five at the back.

'I think the game is more tactical it's become more tactical thinking.

'In my opinion globally about the game, it prepares English teams better to play in Europe.'

Chelsea, meanwhile, have yet to officially comment on reports Arjen Robben is set to join Real Madrid.

Robben's father and agent Hans has indicated negotiations were at a delicate stage. The winger told Spanish daily AS: 'Of course Madrid's interest makes me happy.

'But for now I cannot say much more because Chelsea will not let me tell you more until there is an agreement between the two clubs.

'It's better that they talk about it and solve this.'

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