Jose Alive to Perils Posed by Bold Betis

Article excerpt


JOSE Mourinho is determined his team will do themselves justice in this season's Champions League, starting tonight against a Real Betis side whom he identified as the silent assassins of Group G.

Beaten 2-1 at home by Liverpool in the opening match of the campaign, the Spanish side were instantly written off as the whipping boys of the pool.

But Betis arrived in London on the back of a 1-0 win against third-place Getafe in La Liga and Mourinho believes they pose the biggest threat to his Premiership champions' hopes of making the knockout phase.

The Portuguese coach said: 'Fourth in the Spanish league is better than champions in lots of other leagues. For most of them it is the first time in the competition and they know Chelsea have not lost this season. That will be a big motivation for them.

'I knew from the start that this was a very dangerous group for us - and not because of Liverpool.

Other groups have a big team and then lesser sides below, but the fourth side in this group is Betis.

'Spanish teams are always dangerous opposition and, when you look at our position now, Liverpool and Chelsea have four points and Betis three.

'I expect Betis will beat Anderlecht (who have no points) again, which means one win against us or Liverpool will make nine and that is the total which normally qualifies.

That makes things very dangerous for Chelsea and Liverpool.' A more immediate threat to Chelsea is the appearance this evening of Spain winger Joaquin for Betis - especially with their own squad depleted by an injury to Damien Duff and the recovering Arjen Robben possibly restricted to a role from the bench.

'Joaquin is a great player and I admire him,' said Mourinho. 'Betis have attacking quality throughout the team, so they will not come here and defend like Anderlecht or try to play on the break.

'We had bad luck last season with Robben and Duff both injured, but we decided not to buy another offensive player until last summer.

Then we bought Shaun Wright-Phillips because he is also a great player with attacking quality. …