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Scolari insists Essien will stay

Michael Essien
Essien was injured playing for Ghana in a World Cup qualifier in September

Chelsea's Michael Essien is progressing well after knee ligament surgery as coach Luiz Felipe Scolari insists the midfielder will stay at the club.

Speculation has been mounting over his future at Chelsea, who will be aiming for a record 11th consecutive away win when they travel to Bolton on Saturday.

Ex-Portsmouth star Sulley Muntari wants fellow Ghanaian Essien to join him at Inter Milan.

Scolari said: "All clubs want Essien but he's injured and stays at Chelsea."

If the Blues win at Bolton they will equal the top flight record for consecutive away wins set by Tottenham Hotspur in the 1959-60 season.

Chelsea will be missing Joe Cole for the game at the Reebok Stadium, while defender Ricardo Carvalho will be out for a minimum of another 14 days after suffering a thigh injury against Hull in October.

But Scolari has more positive news on Essien and is delighted with the medical assessment on the player following his knee surgery in September.

Muntari said on Thursday that he hoped Essien would move to Inter but Scolari, who described his midfielder as a "fantastic player" said: "Sure, many clubs want Essien, but he's Chelsea's and I think he's happy here.

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"There is good news every day for me about Michael. He recovers more quickly than we had thought.

"But I don't want to put pressure on him, although I think he'll be back sooner than we expected."

Despite homing in on Spurs' record for away wins Scolari insisted he is only focusing on bouncing back from last week's defeat by Arsenal.

"I don't think about the record," he said. "We need to recover those three points. We try to win one more game to follow the other clubs in the best position.

"The players don't think about records. They're thinking about finishing first or getting into finals.

"If we win 20 games away and lose 10 games at home, there's a record away from home, but it's all about arriving at the main objective."

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see also
Inside Sport - Michael Essien
10 Nov 08 |  Inside Sport
Essien undergoes knee operation
18 Sep 08 |  Chelsea
Scolari wants Essien replacement
12 Sep 08 |  Chelsea


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