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Man Utd, Chelsea turn attention to Moscow
May 12, 2008 14:51 IST
Last Updated: May 12, 2008 16:32 IST
Manchester United [Images] and Chelsea will approach their looming Champions League final in contrasting moods after United wrapped up their 17th English championship on Sunday.
United's 2-0 victory at Wigan Athletic meant whatever Chelsea did at home to Bolton Wanderers would have been in vain, but the Blues' concession of a late equaliser robbed them of the chance to boast the same points total as the champions.
Manager Alex Ferguson said United will be buoyant as they prepare to travel to Moscow [Images] where they can clinch the double.
Chelsea, after expending so much effort in recent weeks to take the title race to the wire, will need to dust themselves down for arguably their biggest ever game.
"If we had lost (the title) it would be difficult," Ferguson said of the May 21 date in the Russian capital. "When we lost the title at West Ham in 1995, we lost the FA Cup final the following week. We were dead then. We're not dead now, we're alive. We'll be bouncing into the final."
After taking stock of what they almost achieved against the odds, Chelsea will be turning their attention to their first appearance in Europe's showpiece club final.
Manager Avram Grant's first priority will be to make sure captain John Terry and striker Didier Drogba [Images] are fit. Terry dislocated his elbow against Bolton while Ivorian Drogba suffered a knee injury.
"With (Terry's) character I'm sure there will be no problems," Grant told Chelsea's Web site (www.chelseafc.com).
His second task will be to lift his players for one last effort, although the Israeli played down the disappointment of going so close to snatching the title in his first season in charge.
"We cannot say we were disappointed because we were never in first place to lose it," he said. "We wanted to win the league but it was never in our hands."
Terry conceded that United were worthy Premier League champions, but warned Ferguson's side that they face a tough night in Moscow next week.
"We respect United, they have been fantastic. They are top of the league and deserve to be there," Terry, who has won every domestic honour with his club, told Sky Sports. "But Moscow is a different story and we are aiming for that.
"Overall that is the big trophy that I want. It's the one that has been missing from my list and the Chelsea fans."