Blues not seeking Royals revenge for injured Cech

December 26, 2006

Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard insists the distressing events of their October clash with Reading are long forgotten as the teams prepare to meet at Stamford Bridge.

The Premiership champions won 1-0 at the Madejski Stadium earlier this season, but goalkeepers Petr Cech and Carlo Cudicini both left the pitch on a stretcher after challenges by Reading players.

Royals midfielder Stephen Hunt challenged Cech for the ball in the first half as the Czech Republic international suffered a depressed fracture of the skull.

In the second half, his replacement Cudicini was concussed after a challenge by Ibrahima Sonko.

Both Reading players were subjected to death threats in the wake of the match, but stand-in Blues captain Lampard insists Chelsea's players hold no grudges.

'I've not even thought about it,' he said.

'It's more of an issue for the media, but the players won't be thinking about certain individuals. It's about winning the game.'

Manager Steve Coppell's side have hit a rocky patch, taking just one point from their last four matches.

Lampard, though, has warned his team-mates against complacency, adding: 'It's going to be a tough game.

'It's one people will look at and expect us to win, but for me Reading have been impressive this season and they'll come and have a go.

'We need to win it, so by no means can we go in relaxed. But then it's the same with any game because they are all so important.'

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho is ready to take further risks in his pursuit of a third successive Premiership title.

He gambled and won at Wigan on Saturday when many managers would have opted to cash in their chips.

Comfortably leading 2-0 after 30 minutes, Mourinho saw his side pegged back to 2-2 with 15 minutes remaining.

Instead of shoring up his defence at that stage in a bid to make sure of a point, the gambler that is Mourinho went for all three.

The pay-out was huge as Arjen Robben scored in the third minute of stoppage time to keep Chelsea two points behind leaders Manchester United ahead of the Boxing Day clash with Reading.

'I took off a central defender and a defensive midfield player - (Khalid) Boulahrouz and (Claude) Makelele - to play an attacking player like Mikel (Jon Obi) and a striker in (Andriy) Shevchenko,' said Mourinho.

'That is something that sometimes works, but sometimes can work the other way because you are open too much and the opponents score.

'Imagine if they'd scored on the counter attack when all we had at the back were (Ricardo) Carvalho and (Ashley) Cole.

'But I have to give credit to my players because they wanted to win. They did everything to win.

'They were not afraid to gamble and play attacking football the way they did in the last 10 minutes.'

Mourinho is nevertheless concerned about his players' attitude and the way they believed the game was over at 2-0.

'When the game is difficult, from the first minute like against Everton, you have to fight until the last second,' added Mourinho, whose side staged a late rally at Goodison Park to also win 3-2.

'When the game is easy, you have to kill the game and be happy the game is easy.

'But against Wigan we became relaxed, losing the ball, playing the wrong pass, making mistakes in defence and letting them win the second ball.

'When you do this it is because something is not right in your attitude. Our attitude was not positive in that aspect and we should have been punished.'

Captain John Terry and goalkeeper Cudicini remain doubtful with back and thigh injuries respectively.