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Last Updated: Thursday, 9 February 2006, 11:27 GMT
Chelsea hold off re-laying pitch
By John Sinnott

Stamford Bridge pitch
Chelsea have yet to lose at Stamford Bridge this season in the league
Chelsea have no plans to re-lay their pitch before their Champions League game with Barcelona on 22 February.

The Stamford Bridge pitch has raised concerns, with large patches having no grass, which means the players may find it difficult to control the ball.

But Chelsea believe the poor surface has been caused by the pitch being relaid twice each season.

A spokesman told BBC Sport: "We are looking at the long term and want to give next season's pitch every chance."

Don't forget the pitch is the same for both teams
Chelsea spokesman

The Blues spokesman added: "We have always had problems with the pitch.

"In the past we generally re-lay once during the season and then reseed in the summer.

"But that creates a vicious circle as it makes it harder for the pitch to bed down in the summer.

"We've also got a problem in that we need a two-week window to re-lay the pitch and we're involved in so many games that it is just not possible."

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho is wary of re-laying the pitch as he believes the players are more likely to injure themselves as the turf settles down.

Last season, former Chelsea midfielder Scott Parker blamed the newly-laid Stamford Bridge pitch for the broken foot he suffered during the 4-0 win over Norwich in December 2004.

"The pitch was pretty poor, I seemed to buckle my foot and I knew straight away because I felt something pop," he said.

"I went to a specialist and we've ruled out it being a stress fracture. We think it is a straight break."

Despite the problems with the pitch, Chelsea have yet to lose at Stamford Bridge this season in the Premiership, the Champions League and the FA Cup.

"I'm certain the players would prefer to play on a pristine pitch," said the Chelsea spokesman.

"But hopefully they will benefit in the long term. Don't forget the pitch is the same for both teams and, let's face it, our football isn't suffering."



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