Chelsea look to avoid FA Cup savaging by Wolverhampton Wanderers

Chelsea will look to avoid an FA Cup upset at Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday with the mood still upbeat.

Published: 17th February 2017 09:28 AM  |   Last Updated: 17th February 2017 09:28 AM   |  A+A-

Chelsea's Pedro, third left, celebrates scoring his side's first goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Burnley and Chelsea at Turf Moor stadium. | AP


WOLVERHAMPTON: Chelsea will look to avoid an FA Cup upset at Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday with the mood still upbeat despite being held to a disappointing 1-1 draw at Burnley last Sunday.

The Londoners hold an eight-point lead over Manchester City in the Premier League but the Cup could give them a chance to rest some of their more established players even against a side that knocked out Liverpool last time.

Certainly manager Antonio Conte was able to make nine changes from his regular side for the fourth round tie at home to Brentford yet still emerge comfortable 4-0 winners.

Pedro was one of those that played against Brentford and could feature against Wolves too after claiming he is now "very happy" at Stamford Bridge.

The Spanish winger came close to a return to Barcelona in the summer but no longer has any plans to leave following a successful campaign where he has scored nine times in 27 appearances.

"This is the best moment for me at this club and also the best moment for the whole team since I've been here," he said.

"I'm very happy here. It's a good situation when you are top of the League and progressing in the FA Cup. We are on the right path.

"Last year was a difficult one for me, for the club, for the team, but this year is different.

"With this coach, all the team is focused on the fight for the title, with more confidence for every game and this is good. It's a completely different season.

"Every day I'm more comfortable with the team, with my team-mates, with the club and I have a good relationship with the supporters. All is good for me here and I'm very happy with the situation."

'Analyse it, let it go'

Pedro, who won five league titles and three Champions League trophies whilst at Barcelona, admits he found the going tough in his first season in England last term but has now got used to the pace of the game.

"It's very different compared to Spain, but now I'm in my second year here I understand the football. It's quicker, more intense and more competitive," said the 29-year-old, who was also a member of the Spain team that won the 2010 World Cup.

"For me it's different now I have adapted. I have to run a lot, play harder and I'm very quick, which helps me in the games here in England.

"Here it's quicker when you attack and everything is different. You have to change mentally and it's difficult to adapt at first, but I have changed, I have done that now."

Wolves enter the game on the back of their eighth home defeat of the Championship season after Wigan Athletic won 1-0 with a late goal on Tuesday.

Manager Paul Lambert claims a meeting with the Premier League leaders is the perfect game for his side and he is drawing on some advice from Ottmar Hitzfeld -- his boss at Borussia Dortmund.

"They won’t need picking up or motivating," said Lambert.

"I'm looking forward to it myself, the game and the atmosphere it's going to generate.

"One of the greatest bits of advice I ever had was from Ottmar Hitzfeld. He actually sent me a nice text when we beat Liverpool so we keep in touch.

"He and Martin O’Neill were the best managers I worked under.

"Ottmar was manager of Switzerland at the time, I went to watch them train and I asked him how he handled a defeat -– he said to analyse it for 24 hours and let it go.

"Because if you don’t, it eats away at you. And you've got the job of picking everyone else up as well as yourself."

After the victory over Bournemouth, Guardiola acknowledged the important role he expects Aguero to fill over the remainder of the season.

"I know how important Sergio is," he said. "I did yesterday, the day before, the last week, the last month."

Meanwhile, Jesus’s team mate and countryman Fernandinho has revealed he is hopeful the striker may be able to return before the end of the season.

"He was treading badly with his right foot, but we will see what the doctors will say," said Fernandinho. 

"We are all hoping it was nothing serious and hopefully he can come back as soon as possible."

Guardiola has fielded strong line-ups in the FA Cup until this fifth round stage and the game also appears a perfect opportunity for captain Vincent Kompany, who started the fourth round win at Crystal Palace to continue his comeback from injury.

Huddersfield, meanwhile, will be without their influential Australian midfielder Aaron Mooy who is on loan from City and forbidden by FA rules from playing against his parent club in the competition.

Huddersfield manager David Wagner, who has led his club to within four points of automatic promotion to a top flight they last occupied in 1972, admits he will rotate his squad with a place in the Premier League far more important than a possible place in the sixth round of the cup.

"We didn’t do it only in the Cup, also since the beginning of December when we started our rotation," he said. 

"We don’t have the biggest squad or budget, so to keep everybody healthy, we have rotated for 10-12 weeks.

"It doesn’t matter if we win or lose, it is if it makes sense for the next game and we will probably make changes against City."


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