Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Bridge Salutes His Lazarus Manager

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Bridge Salutes His Lazarus Manager

Article excerpt

Claudio Ranieri may, in his words, be a "dead man walking". But this modern-day Lazarus could still yet be striding all the way into this season's final of the Champions League.

Chelsea continued where Manchester United started off in the FA Cup semi-finals to complete a remarkable win at Highbury to seal their place in the Champions League last four against Monaco.

Chelsea matchwinner Wayne Bridge led the backing for manager Ranieri and insisted: "If it is possible, let him stay."

Bridge scored the winner as Chelsea came from behind at Highbury to beat Arsenal for the first time in 18 attempts.

Jose Reyes gave Arsenal the lead in first-half stoppage time before Frank Lampard equalised six minutes after the break.

Left-back Bridge was the unlikely hero when he scored with less than three minutes remaining to set up the clash with Monaco.

Ranieri, whose future has been the subject of intense speculation all season, was in tears at the final whistle as he was overcome with emotion, and Bridge paid tribute to the Italian.

"I am sure the boss is pleased tonight," said Bridge.

"He has been great for me, he brought me to the club and keeps playing me ( he seems to believe in me. All the lads get on well with him and if it is possible, let him stay.

"He seems to deal with the pressure and he tells us to keep it clear out of our minds. We enjoy training and he seems to enjoy every day.

"I feel sorry for him in a way, I think most people do. You never know what to believe, we'll just have to wait and see what happens.

"I don't think we rally round him but everyone feels for him. We are not playing for him, we are playing for ourselves, the whole of Chelsea, and him.

"He is our manager so we are going to feel for him if he is getting any stick and we are going to play for everyone in Chelsea. …

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