Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Pompey Must Show No Fear; Portsmouth's Ben-Haim Ready to Face Old Team-Mates

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Pompey Must Show No Fear; Portsmouth's Ben-Haim Ready to Face Old Team-Mates

Article excerpt

TAL Ben-Haim knows better than most just how dangerous Chelsea can be - but maintains Portsmouth must show "no fear" when they tackle his old team-mates in the FA Cup final at Wembley, writes JIM VAN WIJK.

The Israeli defender - who has now recovered from a groin injury - joined Chelsea on a free transfer from Bolton during the summer of 2007.

Although he played against Manchester United in the FA Community Shield at Wembley, Ben-Haim found himself down the pecking order at Stamford Bridge following the impressive form of Brazilian Alex, and eventually joined Manchester City after only 13 Barclays Premier League appearances.

The 28-year-old moved on, after an unsuccessful loan spell at Sunderland, to Fratton Park last summer for what would turn out to be a rollercoaster ride.

While the future of players like Ben-Haim remain unclear after tomorrow's showpiece, the Israeli maintains Pompey are focused on pulling off what would be the greatest shock in the history of the famous old competition. "In football you do not need to have fear. You need a lot of desire and passion to try to do your best," Ben-Haim declared.

"After the game if you come back to the dressing room having done your best, even if it is not good enough we will not be very, very disappointed. But in one game anything can happen."

Ben-Haim added: "I know all the players, yet even though I trained with them, I don't think [Frank] Lampard, [Didier] Drogba or [Nicolas] Anelka do the same movements. They are unpredictable.

"But I have also played against them before so it is not something to get too excited about."

Ben-Haim accepts it has been a campaign of turmoil at Portsmouth, which eventually led to administration, the docking of nine points and relegation, for which there could be no preparation.

"The players try to concentrate on football and the manager keeps talking only about football, but it is not easy, because you come in every day not knowing what is going to happen," he said. …

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