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Last Updated: Thursday, 24 November 2005, 12:21 GMT
Essien earns Mourinho praise
Ghanaian midfielder Michael Essien
Essien has settled down well at Chelsea

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has described his Ghanaian midfielder Michael Essien as the 'best player' after their Uefa Champions League match against Anderlecht on Wednesday.

Essien, a US$48 million buy from the French side Olympique Lyon, was the lynchpin of Chelsea's midfield, as they beat the Belgian side 2-0.

Argentine striker Hernan Crespo and defender Ricardo Carvalho settled the issue inside the first 15 minutes and ensured Chelsea reached the next phase of the competition along with their Group G rivals Liverpool.

But it was the man Mourinho placed at the top of his wanted list last summer who stole the show with a magnificent performance in place of injured anchorman Claude Makelele.

For a man who is reluctant to heap praise on individuals, Mourinho was positively gushing about Essien's performance.

"I think he was the best Chelsea player," said Mourinho.

"Over the 90 minutes I think he was the best.

"I don't like to analyse football this way because I am a coach of a team, I like teams to play well or to be responsible for good things.

"But then I have to analyse individually and I think his performance was the most consistent over the 90 minutes."

Essien can only 'get better'
18 Sep 05 |  African


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