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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Sep 17, 2007

Mourinho bemoans eggs-traordinary injuries

Jose Mourinho is determined to avoid having egg on his face as he prepares for the most important Champions League campaign of his Chelsea tenure.

Chelsea face Norwegian side Rosenborg in their Group B opener at Stamford Bridge tomorrow night with the English side favourites to make short work of their opponents.

But injuries to Ivorian striker Didier Drogba and England midfielder Frank Lampard will again rob the Blues of an attacking edge that saw the pair contribute more than 50 goals last season.

Mourinho's side have failed to hit the net in their last two league games but Chelsea's Portuguese coach maintains it is important his side remain committed to playing attractive, stylish football.

However, in a typically bizarre analogy, Mourinho admits that without his best players, it is like trying to make an omelette without the best eggs money can buy.

Mourinho declared: 'The style of how we play is very important. But it is omelettes and eggs. No eggs - no omelettes! It depends on the quality of the eggs.

'In the supermarket you have class one, two or class three eggs and some are more expensive than others and some give you better omelettes.

'So when the class one eggs are in Waitrose and you cannot go there, you have a problem.

'When you have Drogba, Lampard, Michael Ballack and Ricardo Carvalho injured you are speaking about 40% of the team. You are speaking about the spine of the team - one central defender, two midfield players and one striker.

'After that you go to Claudio Pizarro. He is the second target man on the team and should be the direct replacement for Drogba. He is out too. But Wayne Bridge is also out and so Ashley Cole is the only left-back we have.

'He is playing games, every minute for Chelsea and the national team. The problem is not the number of injuries but which players they are and their importance for the team.

'That is the problem. In this moment when you speak about Lampard and Drogba, you are speaking about more than 50% of the goals the team scores.

'They are important injuries for us. That is the reality. I don't want to cry about it. I want to work with the players I have available, try to play the best and try to get results.'

Chelsea have a formidable record in the Champions League at Stamford Bridge and while chief executive Peter Kenyon maintains winning the competition is the `Holy Grail' for the club, Mourinho is content to look no further than victory over Rosenborg.

Mourinho added: 'We play how we can. We have to win the game tomorrow, it is as simple as that.

'Every time we start the Champions League, especially at home, every team has the ambition to win it. I think it is very important to start the group with a victory, especially at home.

'It is important to start well or if not, the risk of making a mistake and being punished is bigger. If the team doesn't want to be under pressure and wants to go quietly to the next phase in a difficult group like we have, it is important to win.

'Of course we have respect for our opponents but we think we are a better team. They are a well-organised team and they know what they are doing on the pitch.

'The team I saw was well organised defensively with three good attacking players. I am waiting for a team that will try to be compact, solid and defend well. They will also try to punish us on the counter-attack.'

But despite his respect for the Norwegians, Mourinho does not expect Chelsea to miss out on qualifying for the knockout stages.

Mourinho added: 'In football everything is possible but I believe in my players and Chelsea has the conditions and quality to qualify for the last 16.'