Ferguson & Grant Set For Decider
Ferguson & Grant Set For Decider Website
Chelsea boss Avram Grant is determined to stop Manchester United from all but retaining the Premier League crown with a win at Stamford Bridge on Saturday. "We don't want them to take the title here, or to become champions at all," said Grant ahead of the key clash. Victory for United would open up a six-point lead, with two games left, and, given their vastly superior goal difference, virtually seal the title. "There is a great incentive for us," said United manager Sir Alex Ferguson. He is concerned his players have not fully recovered after Wednesday's match at Barcelona but is confident they will be back to their best. United drew 0-0 at the Nou Camp in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final - 24 hours after Chelsea drew their last-four clash with Liverpool. "What we have to do first is get the players recovered from Barcelona. Hopefully we will be all right," added Ferguson. "We have the disadvantage of a day's less rest than Chelsea and then there is the travelling of course. "The game takes care of itself in terms of focus, we just have to make sure we are properly rested and prepared. "We also have to recover our passing ability because it was an area that let us down against Barca. "It was surprising because normally we are very good at that part of our game. But I am sure we will get it back on Saturday." The United boss is also wary that the Blues will go into the game on a high after John Arne Riise's late own goal gave them a 1-1 draw at Anfield. "As far as the second leg is concerned, there is no doubt Chelsea's morale will have been boosted," explained Ferguson. "It was a great result for them, particularly the time of their equaliser. They have a marvellous chance of getting to Moscow after that game." The Blues' impressive home record - they have not lost in 80 league games at Stamford Bridge stretching back to February 2004 - will give them further hope that they can keep their own title hopes alive. However, United winger Cristiano Ronaldo is focused on sealing the three points that would all but end Chelsea's challenge. "It will be a tough game, but we have a great chance as the team is very confident," he said. "We do not want to drop any points at Chelsea, so it is important we go for the victory." Even a draw would leave the odds stacked in United's favour but Grant insists his team have not given up hope of overhauling their rivals. "We are happy that we're still in the race for the championship," said Grant. "The players are highly motivated. "We are at home and we want to win. We did what we needed to do in Liverpool. It was a Champions League semi-final away from home at Anfield. "We did what we needed to do. The game was good for us. United also played away from home on Wednesday, but this game will not be the same. "They are a proud team and in first place, and they will come to Stamford Bridge knowing that we're still in the fight. "But we are a team that's come from fifth to second place, showed a lot of spirit and mounted a good recovery from a sometimes difficult situation. "It is difficult to beat us and we have shown a lot. The pressure's good. I hope I have weeks like this all my life. It's an exciting week. We've worked hard to come to this situation. We want to enjoy it now." Chelsea must make do without influential midfielder Frank Lampard, who will miss the game following the death of his mother this week, but goalkeeper Petr Cech says the Blues are still focused on winning the title. "Every game now is like a final," Cech explained. "Personally, I play football to play in the big games and this is an exciting time for everyone. "The Premier League is getting towards the end and after Saturday we can be neck and neck with Man United. "Of course, United score the most goals in the league - they have got the attacking threat - but we have got a pretty good record at Stamford Bridge, so we hope to keep that going. "I always like playing against United, with their top players - you know you will have some work to do. When you keep a clean sheet against such an attacking team it is great."