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Page last updated at 11:23 GMT, Monday, 31 March 2008 12:23 UK

Desailly warning for Euro quartet

By David Ornstein

Marcel Desailly
Defender Desailly spent six seasons at Stamford Bridge

Marcel Desailly has warned England's top clubs against believing they are on the verge of European domination.

Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool have ensured one country has four teams in the Champions League quarter-finals for the first time.

But former Chelsea and France captain Desailly told BBC Sport: "It's very good that England have achieved four teams in the quarter-finals.

"But keep your feet on the ground because nothing is guaranteed."

Desailly, who lifted the Champions League with Marseille in 1993 and AC Milan a year later when they thrashed Barcelona 4-0, believes the Premier League's so-called 'big four' have much to learn from their major European rivals.

While Spain and Italy boast only one representative apiece in the last eight of this season's competition (Barcelona and Roma), Real Madrid have won Europe's premier club competition a record nine times and AC Milan seven.


Teams from England have won the European Cup 10 times to Spain and Italy's 11 each but since it rebranded as the Champions League in 1993 that ratio reads two-four-four and, in terms of finalists, four-seven-10.

Although England is the only country to have had at least one representative in the last 10 Champions League quarter-finals, Desailly insists the likes of Madrid and AC Milan continue to set the bar.

"The English teams have to follow how Real Madrid and AC Milan have managed to stay at that level over the past 15 years," he said.

"They have been there all the time and it's not just about money.

"Manchester United have that rhythm - every year they are there challenging for the league and Champions League.

"The secret is respect among the players, very hard work and a good attitude from the club towards the players.

"All the small details make the difference and allow you to become a major team in Europe."

Another of Desailly's former clubs, Chelsea, have failed to capitalise on three Champions League semi-finals in spite of the staggering investment provided by owner Roman Abramovich since 2003.

Chief executive, Peter Kenyon, envisages Chelsea being "internationally recognised as the world's number one football club by 2014" and Desailly suggests this is only possible if they make their mark on the Champions League this season.

"I feel there is a big gap between the image that Chelsea have generated and the facts of what Chelsea have," stated Desailly.

"They have to really concentrate to win at least the Champions League this year, so they have that trophy in their record."

see also
Roma v Man Utd
30 Mar 08 |  Europe
Schalke 04 v Barcelona
31 Mar 08 |  Europe
Arsenal v Liverpool
31 Mar 08 |  Europe
Fenerbahce v Chelsea
31 Mar 08 |  Europe
Alan Hansen's column
31 Mar 08 |  Football
Comment: Ferguson's goal
14 Mar 08 |  Football
Roma out for revenge - Fletcher
14 Mar 08 |  Man Utd
Euro draws as they happened
14 Mar 08 |  Europe
Inter Milan 0-1 Liverpool (0-3)
11 Mar 08 |  Europe
AC Milan 0-2 Arsenal (agg 0-2)
04 Mar 08 |  Europe
Man Utd 1-0 Lyon (agg 2-1)
04 Mar 08 |  Europe

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