Chelsea coach set for new Premiership

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> Jose Mourinho's time as manager of Chelsea will get underway in earnest on Sunday when his team take on former champions Manchester United.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:08 IST
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After what seems like an eternity, dominated by yet another summer of big-name signings, Jose Mourinho's time as manager of Chelsea will get underway in earnest on Sunday when his team take on former champions Manchester United in their opening league game of the season. Despite the tough first fixture, Mourinho is adamant that his preparation for the United game has not differed from how he will approach Chelsea's remaining matches. "My emotion, my way of thinking about the Man United match will be exactly the same as I will approach the next match against Birmingham (City) and the next one against Crystal Palace. I'm always confident, always confident. I always trust my players and my team. I'm never nervous. I just feel what everybody feels before a football match," Jose Mourinho, Chelsea Manager Without strikers United will be without strikers Ruud van Nistelrooy, Louis Saha and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, winger Cristiano Ronaldo, midfielder Kleberson and defenders Rio Ferdinand, Gabriel Heinze and Wes Brown due to a combination of injuries and unavailability. Mourinho, though, believes that United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has a strong squad and expects the former champions to be well-prepared for a variety of reasons. "I think they have one big advantage. They work with their manager for many, many, many, many years. The second advantage is: they work with the same group of players, plus (Alan) Smith and (Liam) Miller, but not much, many, many, many years. The third advantage is: they already played a high level match, a high competitive match," said Mourinho. Mourinho's reference was to United's 2-1 Champions League qualifying victory over Dinamo Bucharest in Romania earlier in the week. Playing together The Chelsea manager admitted that his squad hadn't played together enough in the run-up to the start of the season. That was due to the comings and goings of both new signings and departing players. Despite the disruptions, Mourinho made it clear that he and his squad of expensive players were ready for the season ahead. "I'm ready for it and I'm ready to fight everyday, to work everyday. I'm ready for every match. To be trying to participate and to communicate with my players during every minute of every match. And, at the end of the season, we will see. But, I have enough confidence in myself to believe in good things and at the same time I understand enough football and football life to feel that sometimes you don't achieve what you fight for," Mourinho. New players Mourinho has spent around 70 million pounds ($128.2 million) on five new players since taking over from Claudio Ranieri in June. 24 million of that was on Ivory Coast striker Didier Drogba from Olympique Marseille. He also recruited three Portuguese players, defenders Ricardo Carvalho and Paulo Ferreira and midfielder Thiago Mendes. New Dutch winger Arjen Robben and Thiago are out injured for Sunday's game, while midfielders Alexei Smertin and Joe Cole are also doubtful through injury. (AP)

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