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"This is not a team to win tomorrow, its a team of kids, this is a team where the best years are to come, the best stage is not this one or the next one. More than 50 per cent of the team are aged 23 or below, this is a team to be built, which is what I have been asked to do, build, with the fantastic talent I have, a Chelsea team for the next decade." - Jose Mourinho, summer 2013. Without a ball being kicked, Mourinho knew the size of the task at Stamford Bridge. When his team came up against Manchester United at the end of August at Old Trafford, he kept it tight, bringing a new resilience to the team to help them get a point. It was an examination of his players and one they had rarely been asked to do under Roberto Di Matteo and Rafael Benitez last season. Almost five months later, in the return match against United at Stamford Bridge, Mourinho put his players through a different exam, one they passed again, thumping Manchester United 3-1. This was not a game won on the training pitch, or at the blackboard tactically in the buildup; instead a deflection and two poor defensive errors handed the game to Chelsea. Mourinho had hoped something like that might have happened at Old Trafford. This time hed hoped they might create a bit more, but he will certainly take the manner in which they won. In the minds of many, the game officially ended Uniteds title challenge but, realistically, this was secured two months earlier. Instead, this game showed us more of Chelsea - a win where they finally relied upon a striker to deliver the critical blows, as Samuel Etoo scored a hat-trick inside 50 minutes, and a win where they easily defeated an arch-rival without being at the top of their game. And it is that which will please the manager most. Strikers are paid a lot of money to score goals and often these become vital, isolated moments that have no reflection on the way the game was played. When Etoos shot deflected off Michael Carrick and into the net on 17 minutes, it put an end to a period that United were in control of the match. Etoo scored again and again, both times being left to easily poke home in the penalty box to secure a rare kind of victory for Chelsea. Dont get used to it. Mourinho acknowledged this recently, saying: “We cannot just let the players hide behind the fact that we are not scoring enough goals and wait for that to happen. We cannot play for that. People need to change their brains a little bit more." Sunday was the first time all season a Chelsea striker had scored more than once in a game. Last season? It happened just once in 38 games when Fernando Torres got a brace at Sunderland (and one of those was a penalty.) Etoo handed Chelsea the three points on Sunday, but with a settled back four and an average striker playing up top for Chelsea this season, their championship-calibre credentials will be determined by the five that connects them together. This is Mourinhos most important project. The Fundamental Five Mourinho knows that these five players dictate the way his team is playing. When they lose, like they did at Sunderland in the League Cup last month, it makes Mourinho question how these five play, as he said: "We may have to take a step back in order to be more consistent at the back. Its something I dont want to do, to play more counterattacking, but Im giving it serious thought. If I want to win 1-0, I think I can, as I think its one of the easiest things in football. Its not so difficult, as you dont give players the chance to express themselves." If Mourinho is giving counterattacking more thought, it requires a more solid double pivot in central midfield, but when you ask him about this area, Mourinho would admit he isnt fully sold on the style, saying, as he also did last month, this time after a win: "We are not a very solid team, at the same time compared with last season, when this team played a big part of the season with David Luiz and [John Obi] Mikel in front of the four defenders, so at the end of the day they had five defenders plus Mikel, Ramires playing on the right side closing one side down and the team was playing with one striker and Juan Mata behind him, defending well and trying to counterattack, thats not the direction we want to go." Mourinho will only tell you publicly what he wants you to know. In truth, if Chelsea are to become the powerhouse Mourinho wants, the team needs to be able to attack better and counter and that was shown on Sunday against United. Up 3-0, he brought on Mikel to play alongside Luiz and pushed Ramires on to the right to close down the threat of Adnan Januzaj, who had moved there when Javier Hernandez came on. However, it is one thing to do this, up 3-0, but it is quite another to do it at 0-0. Yet, at 0-0 Chelsea still countered. And at Arsenal last month, a game that ended 0-0, they countered from deep positions on regular occasions. However, in that match never, was it more evident that the playmakers didnt trust Torres, as they often would break from deep positions and not want to give the ball to the Spaniard. "It was like they were playing with 10 men," said Sky Sports analyst Gary Neville after the match and he was absolutely spot on. Ramires has been a permanent fixture in central midfield and, despite often saying Luiz wasnt a central midfielder, the Brazilian was selected there again for Sundays clash, just as he did last week at Hull and at home to Liverpool recently. Luiz is clumsy on the ball and gives away needless fouls, but, unlike Frank Lampard, he gets the best out of his midfield partner because, positionally, he is ideal. He allows Ramires to use his speed and energy, getting forward to connect with the playmakers further forward, but is also useful in counterattacks because he can often ignite them with the first pass as he thinks like a centre back when his team is not in possession of the ball. It is clear Mourinho wants to play a four-band system, which has been labeled 4-2-3-1, but is often really 4-3-2-1 with the central playmaker dropping deeper when not in possession, another reason why counterattacking can work for this team. When asked about the three behind the striker, earlier this season, Mourinho said: "We have six players for these three positions and they will give me chances as a manager to change, match to match, depending on the opponent, the game plan. It is based on these three players how we create our football." This has certainly been true. Five months after that comment, Kevin De Bruyne has been sold, Juan Mata and Andre Schurrle have sat on the bench a lot and Mourinho has found out who the three players he relies on most in those positions - Willian, Oscar and Eden Hazard - and, with whoever playing as a striker continuing to be inconsistent, these playmakers certainly dictate Chelseas creativity. Hazard is the fun inside the fundamental five and has had a wonderful season, already scoring nine league goals. Of the three, he sticks to his position, on the left, more than most, but has the football intelligence to come central, to occupy the centre backs, when the striker comes deep, and even go right and attack from deep through the middle, as he did when he scored his wonderful individual goal against Liverpool. Keeping the Belgian predominantly on the left appears to be the reason Mourinho prefers Cesar Azpilicueta over Ashley Cole at left back. Mourinho rarely encourages his full backs to get forward and having a more defensive-minded full back down the left negates Hazards defensive issues, which were far too evident under both managers last season. Finding these combinations all over the pitch is what is crucial in finding the perfect balance for Chelsea going forward. Oscar is much better at combining with Ramires than Juan Mata, for example, while Willians workrate on the right has made him a perfect partner for Branislav Ivanovic. It was fitting, after a win on January 1st, that Mourinho said: "We are right in it, we have a good team but we need a few important bodies for next season, and I will say in the summer we will get it, I would say the team evolves in this direction, I can predict in the next season we will be real important contenders." For many, Chelsea are real important contenders this season, but what Mourinho means is that, by then, his team will play the way he wants them to. Nemanja Matic has arrived and 4-3-3 may well be in the future, but for that Chelsea needs a legitimate star striker and they need to continually show their manager that they are getting better when they immediately lose the ball. Transitions are the theme for Chelsea to improve, but in this transitional time at the club, they might even be surprising the manager with just how well they are doing. The team not built for tomorrow is becoming the team to win today. Davis Webb Jersey . In taking its goal tally to 99 in all competitions already this season, City delivered another demonstration of its lethal firepower at Etihad Stadium to set up a fourth-round match at home to another second-tier team -- Watford. Devon Kennard Jersey .C. -- North Carolina State coach Mark Gottfried said his team had a "golden" opportunity to help its NCAA tournament chances. http://www.nygiantsfanatic.com/c-57-gia ... ersey.aspx. Richard Jefferson scored 17 points and Diante Garrett had a career-high 15 points as the Jazz had seven players with 10 points or more in Utahs largest margin of victory this season. Keenan Robinson Jersey . Defenceman Tessa Bonhomme was among three players released from the team Tuesday morning along with defenceman Brigette Lacquette of Waterhen, Man. Phil McConkey Jersey . CSKA received the heavier punishment of playing its next European home game behind closed doors, after its supporters displayed racist and far-right symbols in the Czech Republic during a 2-1 loss to Viktoria Plzen on Dec.INDIANAPOLIS -- With a fifth Brickyard 400 victory on the line Sunday, Jeff Gordon looked like the driver he was 20 years ago. Gordon nailed the final restart of the race -- no given because restarts have been Gordons Achilles heel -- to pass Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kasey Kahne with 17 laps remaining at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. His power move from the outside lane past Kahne put Gordon out front for good, and he kicked it into cruise control for a NASCAR-record fifth victory at historic Indy. The win came on the 20th anniversary celebration of Gordons win in the inaugural Brickyard 400, and on "Jeff Gordon Day" as declared by the Mayor of Indianapolis. "I told him this morning that this was his day," said team owner Rick Hendrick. The win moved Gordon into a tie with Michael Schumacher, whose five Formula One victories at Indy had been the gold standard. "God, I finally had the restart of my life," Gordon screamed on his radio. Hed botched one earlier in the race, and the four-time NASCAR champion has struggled with restarts for some years. So when a late caution gave Gordon one last shot at Kahne, who dominated and led a race-high 70 laps, Gordon and his No. 24 team knew the driver was in control of his own destiny. Crew chief Alan Gustafson talked fuel mileage with the driver -- Gordon had enough to get to the finish, and Kahne was cutting it close -- but Gustafson said nothing about the pressure looming over the final restart. "The restart is going to be the race, really," Gustafson conceded in a television interview moments before the field went green. Nobody had any reason to worry as Gordon nailed it when he needed it most. "Im not very good on restarts and wasnt very good today, and I finally made the restart of my life when it counted most," Gordon said in Victory Lane. "I knew we had a great race car, we just needed to get out front." Kahne plummeted to fifth after the restart, then ran out of gas on the final lap and had to nurse his car home to a sixth-place finish. He said he erred in picking the inside line for the restart. "I should have chosen the top (lane), obviously," he said. "I pretty much let Jeff control that last restart. I thhought I made the right decision.dddddddddddd." Kyle Busch finished second, 2.325 seconds behind Gordon, and was followed by Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Denny Hamlin and Matt Kenseth. "It is just a small victory, were still just inching our way there," Hamlin said about JGRs strong run. Joey Logano was fifth in the highest-finishing car from Team Penske, which brought Juan Pablo Montoya to the race in an effort to get the win. Roger Penske has won a record 15 Indianapolis 500s, but is winless in the Brickyard. Montoya was never a factor and finished 23rd. Kyle Larson, who grew up a Gordon fan, finished seventh and likened Gordons win on Sunday to Dale Earnhardt Jr.s season-opening win in the Daytona 500. "To see Jeff Gordon win is pretty special -- its kind of like Junior winning the 500 this year," Larson said. Kevin Harvick, the polesitter and the driver with the car most everyone thought would be tough to beat, was eighth and followed by Earnhardt and rookie Austin Dillon. Carl Edwards finished 15th hours after Roush-Fenway Racing finally confirmed he was leaving the team at the end of the season. Gordon, who won NASCARs first race at storied Indy in 1994, also won the Brickyard in 1998, 2001 and 2004. There had been a lot of fanfare leading up to this race, though, as speedway officials celebrated Gordons 20th anniversary win, who was 23 when he picked up just his second career victory. Eight days short of his 43rd birthday and the father of two young children, Gordon has 90 victories, third on the career list. A tinge of grey at his temples, and his hat on backward, Gordon said it took extreme focus over the final 10 laps not to prematurely celebrate and cough away the win. It meant tuning out the crowd, which was on its feet and cheering him to the finish. "I was trying not to let it get to me and not think about it too much," he said. "And yet you cant help it. Its such a big place and such an important victory and a crucial moment in the season and the championship, and those emotions take over. "This one is for all those fans throughout the years and all weekend long -- theyre saying We believe you can get (championship) number five. We got (Brickyard) No. 5!" Cheap NFL Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys Wholesale NFL Jerseys Jerseys From China Wholesale NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap Jerseys ' ' '
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