Someone's going to cop it

John Terry says Chelsea are about to give someone a hammering as they run into their best form of the season.

John Terry says Chelsea are about to give someone a hammering as they run into their best form of the season.

The Barclays Premiership champions have flown north to Blackburn for tonight's Carling Cup third-round tie brimming with confidence.

Jose Mourinho's team have won nine and drawn one of their last ten games and are gathering momentum after powerful displays against Barcelona and Portsmouth.

Blues and England captain Terry, said: "We've been a lot better in the last two home games. Against Barcelona we created so many chances against one of the best sides in the world. We created chances against Portsmouth as well.

"We had it last year, when we weren't really scoring early on and then it all clicked.

"We're going to put four or five past someone. We're creating so many chances and, with the players we've got, we're going to start sticking the ball away.

"We've got so many world-class players getting these opportunities and creating chances."

Chelsea appeared to lack their killer instinct as they dropped early-season points against Middlesbrough and Aston Villa but they are starting to look like a formidable force again.

Mourinho praised his muscular midfield quartet of Claude Makelele, Frank Lampard, Michael Essien and Michael Ballack.

He said they had all clocked up more than 12 kilometres during the Barcelona game and hailed Lampard's return to form after his performance against Pompey.

Mourinho said: "Lamps is playing fantastically well. It hurts me so much when people put question marks when he goes to the national team because it's a different reality. The reality at Chelsea is that he always plays very, very well and with amazing motivation. He is special."

Mourinho may rest some of his senior players at Blackburn and warned Andriy Shevchenko he will be on the bench despite ending his nine-game goal drought against Portsmouth on Saturday.

But the Blues boss, who won the Carling Cup in his first season at Stamford Bridge, wants a good run in the competition.

He believes it fulfils a key role for his squad by offering crucial competitive action to fringe players, who could be needed in the first-team later in the season. Last season's third round exit, on penalties to Charlton, deprived some of those fringe players the chance to play and stay sharp.

The manager is also keen to build on his team's unbeaten run which stretches back to a 2-1 defeat in Middlesbrough on August 23.

Mourinho said: "We have quite a lot of consecutive matches in different competitions without defeat and the team improves step by step."

The Chelsea boss believes he is now reaping the rewards of his decision to give his players an extended summer holiday at the expense of pre-season training.

They started the campaign slowly but are now gathering momentum and, apart from injured goalkeepers Petr Cech and Carlo Cudicini, the players are fully fit.

Mourinho said: "Sometimes I think it is better to give them a mental rest by giving them a longer period of holiday and I'm happy with that decision because I see only players improving and not going in the wrong direction.

"I see nobody mentally tired and nobody who needs a rest and everybody wishing to play." Cech, 24, left hospital and returned home yesterday, ten days after fracturing his skull in a collision with Reading's Stephen Hunt.

The Czech keeper will start light training next week but has been told he cannot expect to train fully for three months.

Shaun Wright-Phillips has been at the centre of speculation in Spain this week, claiming he could join Atletico Madrid on loan in January.

Wright-Phillips, 24, has started only two games this season and Chelsea want to sign Atletico's highly-rated striker Fernando Torres next year.


David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer