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Pressure is on Liverpool: Mourinho

May 03, 2005 10:20 IST

Jose Mourinho has eased the pressure on his Chelsea side ahead of Tuesday's clash with Liverpool by saying that his players will return to London as heroes even if they fail to reach the Champions League final.

"I think the pressure is on Liverpool," Mourinho told reporters on Monday. "We will go back to London as heroes whatever this result because we have won the championship. If they lose at Anfield they will have nothing."

Chelsea, who start the semi-final second leg following a disappointing 0-0 home draw with Liverpool at Stamford Bridge last week, have been boosted by clinching their first league title for 50 years at Bolton Wanderers on Saturday.

Mourinho says his players have not been sidetracked from focusing on the semi-final by their title celebrations.

"It's easy to concentrate on this game. It's the best way to forget about winning the title because we have a big game.

"The group deserves to celebrate the Premiership in a different way than we did," said Mourinho.

QUICK CELEBRATION

"It was a quick celebration and then we finished. No families, no wives, no more champagne -- nothing. We just stayed in the hotel and prepared for this game.

"I will give the players a day off on Wednesday and Thursday instead," he added. "For now they want to play this game.

"My players want to keep on winning things. They have now the Carling (League) Cup and the championship in their pockets but they want more in their lives."

If Chelsea beat Liverpool they would face AC Milan or PSV Eindhoven in the Champions League final in Istanbul on May 25. Milan lead 2-0 going into Wednesday's second leg in Eindhoven.

Goalkeeper Petr Cech says Chelsea's defeat by Monaco at the semi-final stage last year has made them determined to reach the final this time.

"Some players can remember the feeling of losing against Monaco last season and they don't want to feel the same," said the Czech keeper who arrived at Chelsea in the close season.

Cech says winning the title has taken the pressure off ahead of the semi-final and believes Mourinho's experience of winning the trophy last year will help them overcome Liverpool.

"I was pleased to win against Bolton. Now we know we have the title so we are playing without pressure and can concentrate on the (Liverpool) game," he added.

"Jose Mourinho has a lot of experience in the Champions League. He won (it) last year and he can help us deal with the pressure that can happen in games like this because he has been there."


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