Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

I Haven't Let My Team-Mates Down with Fake Groin Injury, Says Missing Blues Star Shevchenko

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

I Haven't Let My Team-Mates Down with Fake Groin Injury, Says Missing Blues Star Shevchenko

Article excerpt

CHELSEA striker Andriy Shevchenko has denied letting down his team-mates and insisted that a genuine injury will keep him out of tonight's Champions League semi-final at Liverpool.

Coach Jose Mourinho is understood to have taken the decision to drop Shevchenko and left the Ukrainian out of his 'probable' line-up during training on Sunday.

But the [pounds sterling]31million signing is then believed to have told Mourinho that he had a groin injury and was not fit enough to sit on the bench at Anfield..

Standard Sport reported last week that Mourinho was losing patience with Shevchenko again but the striker denied he has been dropped.

Shevchenko (right) said: "It is something which has been affecting my performances for the last few weeks and in the last game against Bolton I aggravated the injury.

"I am sorry to miss the match and can't be with the team to support them. I will remain in London and work hard on my rehabilitation." Chelsea today denied there is a rift between the player and the club. In a statement, they said: "Contrary to media reports this morning, Andriy did not refuse to travel with the team to Liverpool. He suffered an injury during training on Sunday and it was decided after training that he was not fit to

play against Liverpool and therefore, like other injured players, did not travel." Another absentee is Michael Ballack, who chose to undergo surgery on an ankle problem in Germany without first consulting club officials.

The German defended his decision today and insisted that he had little choice but to go under the knife and still hoped to be

back for the FA Cup and potential Champions League Finals.

The midfielder said: "I didn't have this surgery for fun and I would much rather be with the team on the pitch against Liverpool. I'm still hoping to play in the final. …

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