Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Sheva's Made Blues Better, Says Wenger

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Sheva's Made Blues Better, Says Wenger

Article excerpt


ARSENE WENGER believes Andriy Shevchenko has made Chelsea a better team this season and that his strike partner, Didier Drogba, has become a better player since the Ukrainian arrived from AC Milan.

Wenger also thinks the 30-year-old deserves credit for Chelsea's " more of fensive " approach and for the part he has played in Drogba's tally of 14 goals.

"If Drogba does well, a lot is certainly down to Shevchenko as well," said the Arsenal manager ahead of Sunday's clash with the champions at Stamford Bridge.

"Drogba was always a great player but even more so since he has played with Shevchenko. He has more support, more deflections. He gets more deflected balls and someone makes the runs for him and he takes advantage of that.

"I've rated Shevchenko highly from the time he played against us with Dynamo Kiev. I feel as well he is a really keen player and sometimes that kind of work is not rated enough."

Wenger's praise for Shevchenko comes hot on the heels of Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho saying the Ukrainian is not one of his nine "untouchables" despite costing [pounds sterling]30.8million in the summer.

Mourinho also told Roman Abramovich today that he will walk out on Chelsea if the owner meddles in team affairs. The head coach hit out at suggestions he has been forced to play Shevchenko through a poor run of form because the striker is a friend of the Russian billionaire.

Shevchenko has scored only six goals this season and in a new twist to the episode has blamed Frank Lampard and Michael Ballack for focusing on scoring themselves rather than supplying chances.

Mourinho said: "For sure, I would walk if Abramovich told me to pick a player. We were both keen to have Shevchenko.

"Roman is a very intelligent person. Is he happy with me? Yes. He respects me. The day he doesn't respect me, just give me the cheque and send me home."

Shevchenko is likely to play again against Arsenal but Mourinho insists he is persevering with a talent who will shine for Chelsea and is just suffering problems adapting to the team's tactics. …

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