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Last Updated: Wednesday, 8 August 2007, 07:34 GMT 08:34 UK
Mourinho issues rotation warning
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho
Mourinho has injury concerns before the start of Chelsea's season
Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho says his players must get used to being rotated - and believes his squad is now better equipped to cope with injuries.

He thinks Chelsea were hindered by injuries last season and has since signed Steve Sidwell, Tal Ben Haim, Florent Malouda and Claudio Pizarro.

"We didn't need new blood, we needed to be protected from things that happened last season," Mourinho told Chelsea TV.

"We play 60 matches a season - no-one can play in all of those 60 matches."

Chelsea were beaten to the Premier League title by Manchester United last season, although the Blues did triumph in the Carling Cup and FA Cup.

Mourinho will be eager to regain the top-flight crown but has already been hit by injury problems, with several players - including captain John Terry and top striker Didier Drogba - set to miss the start of the season, which kicks off with a game against Birmingham on Sunday.


But he says Chelsea's summer acquisitions will insure them against the kind of problems they suffered last time around.

Mourinho added: "I would say only Pizarro is here to give us something different. The reality of Sidwell, Ben Haim, Malouda is to protect us.

"Last season we had problems with central defenders, so now we have Ben Haim. We had problems with wingers, so we have Malouda, who is a very good player.

"We have problems in the future with centre midfielders, with the African Cup of Nations in January, so we have a young English boy like Sidwell.

"So I think the point was the team didn't need fresh blood, they needed protection and we got this protection with these boys."

Mourinho insists that every player in the squad will have a chance to stake a claim for a regular first-team place during the campaign.

"If you are not first-choice at the beginning of the season you know that, step by step, you will get matches," said Mourinho.

"Last season every player played more than 20 matches. When they come to Chelsea they know that it is not easy to play but they know Chelsea normally progress in every competition, they reach finals or semis.

"We are playing a lot of matches. We need rotation so the players know it's difficult but at the same time they know that the chances will be here for them."

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