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Last Updated: Monday, 3 October 2005, 12:13 GMT 13:13 UK
Respect is due

By Alan Hansen
BBC Sport football expert

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho believes his team are not getting the respect they deserve - and that is absolutely great.

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho wants a little more respect for his side
If Chelsea still feel they are not getting the credit they deserve, it will only drive them on

And by that I mean great for Chelsea, not for their detractors.

It is great because it is such an incentive for an already outstanding group of players and it will only strengthen their resolve to claim the big prizes.

Regular readers of this column will know I have championed Chelsea and Mourinho from day one.

The players are a credit to themselves and their manager. They deserve total respect for what they have achieved - and if anyone continues to bang on about "boring Chelsea", then they are crazy.

The old saying when I was at Liverpool was the title was never over until you had the medal in your hand, but it will take a fantastic team embarking on a fantastic run to take the title away from Stamford Bridge and I just don't see that fantastic team out there.

The warning signs are being posted in very large letters for the rest of the title challengers and if Chelsea still feel they are not getting the credit they deserve, it will only drive them on.

When I was at Liverpool we never felt we got the respect we deserved. Indeed when three points for a win were introduced, many cynics said it would be the end of us because they regarded us a team that ground out results rather than won games.

It was a theory that didn't do us any harm when it came to motivation, and I suspect Chelsea feel the same now.

They were brilliant against Liverpool and showed the resolve of true champions in those crucial moments after Steven Gerrard equalised.

Most teams, especially with The Kop in full cry, would have had a wobble.

Chelsea simply kept playing in exactly the same way, almost saying to Liverpool: "OK. You've scored a great goal, but we're still here and we'll score one of our own."

Those who prefer to carp go on about Chelsea's money. There is a tinge of jealousy in this.

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich may have pumped millions into the club, but the players have still had to perform on the pitch
Money does not equate to success unless it is used wisely

Money does not equate to success unless it is used wisely and there is a hunger and desire in the camp.

Huge sums of money do not necessarily mean hard work - in some cases it can mean the opposite.

But you watch those Chelsea players when the chips are down like places at Anfield and they are burning with desire, hunger and determination.

They are playing for themselves and their manager - their success is a huge reflection on how good Mourinho is.

As for being boring, nonsense. They can hit you from all angles.

They have got pace, width, can go through the middle and can score goals from 25 yards: they have got variety.

They have got outstanding players all over the pitch and a giant of a leader in John Terry.

How football fans the length and breadth of the country would love to be bored by that sort of winning football.

It is this commitment, determination and hunger I admire about them as well as their ability.

Everyone is entitled to an opinion about Chelsea's style of play. I can only give my own, and my belief is that they have every single attribute you want in a football team.

For my old club, it was certainly a sobering experience to be on the receiving end of their worst league defeat at Anfield in 36 years.

And yet I feel they acquitted themselves pretty well over the two games they played against Chelsea.

The first rule of playing against Chelsea is to make them do something special to score. Liverpool did not do that. The first goal was a giveaway, with Djimi Traore doing what I've seen him do 100 times - letting the ball go past him because he has no right foot in football terms.

Traore's clearance then strikes Didier Drogba, and I'm afraid Djimi's tackle after that can be best described as a non-event.

Liverpool have a foundation and have answered questions about their commitment, but the big problem is that they have no pace through the middle of the team.

Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard
The Chelsea players have been inspired to silence their critics

Jamie Carragher is a brilliant defender, but he is not lightning quick, while Sami Hyypia has also done great but isn't quick. Peter Crouch has not get the speed to get away from you in attack, so options are limited.

Chelsea exploited this because they have so much variety and came at Liverpool from all angles.

You are not sure where the threat is going to come from, so this leads to fear which in turn leads to mistakes.

Didier Drogba would never make a list of my favourite players, but among all their other qualities, Chelsea know they can knock the ball over the top and he is the big, strong type who will go for it.

Liverpool were also lacking in width, and even though they have a 6ft 7in striker in Crouch, I don't think he has any decent balls into the box to go for.

He had a chance against Birmingham, but he was stretching at the far post and that's not the service he needs.

So while I think Liverpool are improving, aspects of the game certainly need tweaking and they were on the wrong end of a very bad result on Sunday.

As for Chelsea, they deserve respect and they will certainly get it from me.





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