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Guillt and "The Holy Grail"!


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http://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/ ... page.htmll


Mike Walters

HOLY GRAILS were once the province of Monty Python or homicidal monks in the Da Vinci Code - and Ruud Gullit has warned Chelsea may never win the Champions League chalice if Jose Mourinho walks away.

In a strained atmosphere which chief executive Peter Kenyon calls "healthy tension", Mourinho is on better terms with the speaking clock than Blues baron Roman Abramovich over ?30million misfit Andriy Shevchenko.

While tightropes, piano wires and bicycle chains might benefit from healthy tension, Gullit - who led Chelsea to the FA Cup 10 years ago and began the club's ascent from Kings Road show ponies towards Premiership domination - insists that European Cup contenders cannot.

Gullit, who watched Chelsea's Grand Slam weekend defeat at Liverpool as a Sky Sports pundit, warned the Blues that hiring another coach of Mourinho's pedigree was "not as easy as picking an apple".

And the Dutch master, manager at Stamford Bridge from 1996-98, says Chelsea are unlikely to find another Special One.

Gullit said: "I like Mourinho as a coach and I like his charisma - without him there would not be so much fuss and the Premiership would not be so much fun.

"You cannot exaggerate the value of his strong personality. With Jose there is always something going on, he is always a contender and he has turned Chelsea into winners.

"People have short memories, and whether you love him or hate him, Jose doesn't just put Chelsea on the agenda - he puts them at the top of the agenda.

"Abramovich knows he has a top coach, one of the very best. Mourinho has proved his pedigree over and over again, and I don't see him leaving Chelsea because he would be so difficult to replace.

"Anyone can go out and spend ?200million on new players, but only a few can spend it on the right blend, and with the right chemistry, to win two Premiership titles in a row, win the Carling Cup and reach a Champions League semi-final in two seasons.

"That is the reality of Mourinho's influence, and Chelsea would not find it easy to find a coach who is capable of winning the Champions League for them. It is not as easy as picking an apple, he is a rare breed of manager.

"For a long time, Manchester United have been in the same position that Chelsea are in now - they have had money and power, and they have been chasing the holy grail in Europe for years, but they have only won it once and the competition is getting stronger.

"With their strongest team, Chelsea have the quality to win the European Cup this season.

"But, you know, those big storms ripped the tiles off my roof in Holland and maybe Mourinho is like the roof on Chelsea's house - without him, they may not be so effective."

In tonight's Carling Cup semi-final second leg against Wycombe, who held the champions to a 1-1 draw at Adams Park a fortnight ago, Mourinho will field another makeshift defence. But the former Dreadlocked One advised him not to make a big issue of Chelsea's injury problems.

Gullit said: "When you are in charge of a team built on such a high budget, I am concerned that Mourinho keeps talking about missing one or two individuals.

"From a punter's perspective, it doesn't look good when you complain about financial restriction if you have spent almost ?200m on new players in two-and-a-half years."

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