Sheva Set To Face Reds
Jose Mourinho believes Andriy Shevchenko has finally got the message after he inspired Chelsea to the Carling Cup final against Wycombe.
Mourinho revealed that skipper John Terry wanted an assurance the Portuguese manager would still be in charge next season before agreeing to sign a new contract, reportedly worth around £150,000 a week.
But Mourinho, whose relationship with Shevchenko is understood to have become strained due to the player's alleged close friendship with billionaire owner Roman Abramovich, insisted there had never been a personal problem between the pair.
The Portuguese coach has often left the Ukrainian striker on the bench to the frustration of Abramovich but Mourinho declared: 'I am happy with his performance. Not just for the goals.
'Sheva gave us what we need and it is not easy to do it with a click of the fingers. This is Chelsea, it is a Jose Mourinho team with specific qualities and a specific philosophy. He needed time to adapt and if he can repeat what he did in terms of his movement, his contribution for the team, his effort to create spaces, his work when we didn't have the ball and pressing opponents, he is arriving at where we want him to arrive.
'What I do with him, I do with every player. For me every player is the same, it doesn't matter if he cost £30million and the other £300,000, it doesn't matter.
'Players have to work and perform, if they work and perform I love them, if they don't work and perform, I don't.
'I am very happy that Sheva got the message and I am very happy with what he did. If somebody thought I was not playing him because I have a personal situation with him - it is a very silly thought.
'It is a thought from somebody that doesn't understand the game. I want to win so I have to play the players I think are best for the team. I don't play them because they have beautiful eyes, or they are the first ones into training or the last to leave the showers.
'So, at this moment, Sheva has won the right to be in the line-up for Sunday. That's what he won today.'
Mourinho admitted that waiting for Shevchenko to adapt to the rigours of English football had been a frustration at times. 'But the personal relationship was always there and I think that is very important.'
Nottingham Evening Post