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On the eve of his second FA Cup campaign, José Mourinho has been dreaming of the occasion that first captured his imagination many years ago — a Wembley cup final.|
The 2006 FA Cup is the earliest opportunity the Chelsea manager has to lead his team out at the hopefully-completed new look stadium. Chelsea need to overcome Huddersfield Town on Saturday to stand any chance of winning the only domestic trophy yet to come Mourinho’s way in England. It is a trophy he desires strongly.
“On old black and white TVs as a kid, I was all year waiting for the FA Cup Final,” he reminisced on Friday following final training before the third round challenge.
“With my father who was also in love with the game, we were always waiting for the small team in the Final to beat the giant; always waiting for extra time and always had the feeling the players could run all day.
“These are the thoughts you have as a seven, eight, nine, ten year-old. There was always a great atmosphere and it was the most enjoyable game you could get on TV at that time. There was no Premiership on Portuguese TV.
“So I can imagine the FA Cup in Wembley,” Mourinho said, moving his thoughts to the future. “Last season the Carling Cup Final in Cardiff was beautiful. The FA Cup is a bigger competition than the Carling Cup and Wembley means more to football than the Cardiff stadium, with respect to the Carling Cup and Cardiff.
“I was in Wembley as an assistant manager with Barcelona against Arsenal. It was just a Champions League group game but it was a fantastic feeling so I can imagine a Cup Final in the new Wembley.
“We have the FA Cup Final in our minds. We are going to give everything to get there.
“We don’t change cups for the Premiership. The Premiership is the biggest competition in the country. But cup finals are great moments.”
In the third round last season against Scunthorpe, Mourinho rang the changes and gave two debuts to young players. Unlike last season, Chelsea are not about to play a two-legged Carling Cup Final in January but the Chelsea boss has revealed he will be deploying less frequently-used players against Huddersfield. Glen Johnson, Robert Huth, Wayne Bridge and Carlton Cole will all start.
John Terry and Frank Lampard will not be involved while Michael Essien, Hernán Crespo and William Gallas are on the injured list. Mourinho suggested Essien will take the rest of the month to recover from ankle ligament damage and that new signing Maniche will be fit enough to the perform at the top level in two weeks.
Maniche, who will not be playing on Saturday, has taken on the number 7 shirt.
Mourinho has challenged those players coming in against Huddersfield to perform at a very high level.
“It is a game with a lot of responsibility. Lose and you are out of the competition. If I can’t give these players the responsibility of a cup game against Huddersfield, they are here for nothing.
“I trust them and they always give a good contribution when I pick them. If they have the ambition to play regularly for Chelsea, they have to play very seriously against Huddersfield and win the game.
“I am waiting for a difficult game. Huddersfield come with 6,000 supporters and the stadium will be full. One of these matches in Portugal, for instance Porto versus a third division team, I would say with a bit of luck there would be 4000 people in the stadium. Only in England is it possible for the stadium to be already sold out.
“Huddersfield come with a lot of dreams. They have one of the best teams in their division and they are coming to give us a game. They know we are going to play without some of our players that normally play but at the same time, they also know players we have who don’t play so much are still good players.”
Huddersfield’s captain, midfielder Jon Worthington, is suspended so Nathan Clarke will take over the armband.
Winger Chris Brandon and midfielders Mark Hudson and David Mirfin are back from suspensions. Former Sheffield Wednesday striker Andy Booth is reported as a doubt having damaged a groin muscle in the last game. Midfielder Tony Carss is definitely out.