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Europa League round of 16 draw

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By ESPN Staff

Shevchenko speaks out over Chelsea's team spirit

Andriy Shevchenko has urged his team-mates to show some unity following Jose Mourinho's departure as coach.

Shevchenko's poor performances for the Blues following his big money arrival from AC Milan and his alleged close friendships with billionaire owner Roman Abramovich and new coach Avram Grant are among the suggested reasons for the breakdown in Mourinho's relationship with the club.

But Shevchenko insists he does not know Grant any better than the rest of the Chelsea squad and wants them to pull together in the wake of Mourinho's exit.

Shevchenko said: 'It's a difficult moment for the club, the players, the team, because of big changes in the house, so it's a moment for the players to stick together and do our best for the club.

'I know him (Grant) as director of football with the team, like every player. He tries now as a manager and every player has the same relationship.'

Shevchenko is 31 tomorrow and will be looking to celebrate his birthday with a goal against Fulham.

The Ukraine captain was rested for Wednesday's 4-0 victory over Hull but he toiled without success in their 2-0 defeat against Manchester United last Sunday.

Chelsea have failed to win their last three games and success over Fulham is a must if they are to get their season back on track after the managerial upheaval.

Shevchenko added: 'United was a tough game, and after 30 minutes playing with 10, the team played well, were good in defence and tried our best on the pitch.

'We played against Manchester United with 10 and that's very difficult. To score a goal there also is very difficult.'

Meanwhile UEFA have confirmed that Grant is clear to take charge of Chelsea in their Champions League game against Valencia next week.

There were fears that Grant, who is clear to manage the side in domestic competition, would be prevented from doing so in the Champions League by the European governing body.

However, Chelsea's assistant Steve Clarke and the club have been charged by the Football Association over two incidents in their 2-0 defeat by Manchester United on Sunday.

Chelsea were charged with failing to control their players, who surrounded match official Mike Dean after he had shown a straight red card to Mikel John Obi for a tackle on United's Patrice Evra in the first half.

Clarke was charged with using abusive language to match officials although captain John Terry, who tried to snatch the red card out of Dean's hand, escaped an individual charge.

Chelsea's appeal against Mikel's dismissal was rejected by the FA on Tuesday but Chelsea and Clarke, who have until October 12 to respond to their charges, say they will be `strongly defended'.