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Last Updated: Monday, 17 September 2007, 13:38 GMT 14:38 UK
Shevchenko given Desailly backing
By Mandeep Sanghera

Former Chelsea centre-back and French World Cup winner Marcel Desailly
Desailly spent six years at Chelsea
Former Chelsea defender Marcel Desailly insists the club's misfiring striker Andriy Shevchenko will come good.

Desailly says Chelsea must win the Champions League this season - and the France legend believes Shevchenko will be key to that ambition.

"Shevchenko is a top player and does not need to prove himself," Desailly told BBC Sport.

"For the moment, he is not performing. Let's wait and I'm sure he will help Chelsea win the Champions League."

He added: "Shevchenko has Champions League experience. He likes to be the one that everyone is focused on.

"I'm sure that with the Champions League everyone will look at him and the motivation can come from there.

The problem is Shevchenko doesn't feel loved at Chelsea

Alan Shearer

"Also, he feels like he came to Chelsea to win things. Last year, although it was good, they only won the two cups domestically and he needs more."

Shevchenko made his first outing of the season for Chelsea against Blackburn on Saturday and showed little sign of improving on the disappointing form of last term.

The Ukraine international scored just four Premier League goals and three in the Champions League during last season following a 30m move from another of Desailly's former clubs, AC Milan.

On Saturday he missed two gilt-edged chances against Blackburn as Chelsea drew 0-0.

Desailly believes restoring Shevchenko's confidence is key to getting the best out of him.


"It is very difficult to leave AC Milan because it is a family club," added the former France international, who has been organising a Laureus charity match between a Marcel Desailly XI and Chelsea select team to be played at Stamford Bridge on 10 October.

"When you leave a club like that you need time to set up psychologically and he had a lot of problems to adapt himself to the English game and a new club.

"Even if you are a top player you might lose a bit in terms of you condition.

"As soon as he gets his confidence you will see the difference. He will be a different player."

Chelsea begin their Champions League campaign against Rosenborg on Tuesday and Desailly believes the club need to win the competition to rubberstamp their status as one of the world's biggest clubs.

"The consideration of Chelsea now around the world is that they are a club who have already won the Champions League but it's not the case," stated Desailly.

If you can't run as a centre forward, you're in trouble

Alan Hansen on Shevchenko

"Chelsea have not won the Champions League once and we are giving them too much consideration. That's why this year they have to win it.

"For the last two years they have reached the semi-finals but it is not enough. We are expecting more with the quality of the team they have.

"I don't know if they can win it this year because there are plenty of major teams in the competition.

"We cannot say anything at the moment because Chelsea are not at a high level yet. They are not at the level to make the difference. But let's wait."

Meanwhile, Desailly says people should not heap too much pressure on Manchester City defender Micah Richards.

The 19-year-old centre-back has forced his way into the England reckoning with some fine performances for City this season.

"Micah is physically quite strong and is getting matches for England now," Desailly said.

"But let's wait a little bit. You can't say already that he is going to have a great career.

"All players need time to express themselves and the key to being a top player is consistency.

"I don't think you can put him in the same class as John Terry yet.

"To make a career, to get the respect of other people and be at the top for a long period, consistency is the main thing.

"John has been performing at a top level for a long time now, in the Premier League, the Champions League and for England.

"He's working hard and is also a great captain. Micah is just starting out on his journey."

Yet the World Cup-winner admits he has been impressed with Richards' performances this season.

"Micah has done well for Manchester City and looked at home when he has played for England," Desailly said.

"Now he has to dedicate himself to his job and maintain that level.

"That is the secret of being a top, top player and it's what I always told John Terry when he was coming through at Chelsea.

"I hope he can do it and I wish him luck."

Richards has been compared to Desailly, but the Frenchman says Richards should focus on being himself.

"The comparison is good and maybe he is happy about it, but he is himself, he's not me," he said.

"He has his own style and attributes. In the future I hope people will talk about the great Micah Richards and not the new Desailly."

Chelsea v Rosenborg
17 Sep 07 |  Europe
Chelsea 0-0 Blackburn
15 Sep 07 |  Premier League
Concerns over Shevchenko fitness
22 Aug 07 |  Internationals
Mourinho upbeat over Shevchenko
16 Jul 07 |  Chelsea


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