Mourinho stoked to get City in cup

Chelsea coach says his players "have to beat the best" after easing past Stoke into the last 16 of the FA Cup.

Last updated: 27 Jan 2014 09:55
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Oscar's winning performance: The Brazilian showed one of the reasons for Mourinho's faith in him [AP]

Chelsea made it business as usual after the sale of Juan Mata to Manchester United with a 1-0 win over Stoke that put them into the last 16 of the FA Cup – and a meeting with Manchester City.

Mata had been player of the season for Chelsea in the two years that he helped them to the Champions League and Europa League titles.

But the Spaniard left little behind in West London except the regrets of the fans, having been on the fringe of coach Jose Mourinho's plans this term.

Chelsea supporters held up signs, one of which read "Thank you Mata, we will never forget" next to his shirt number, 10.

But it was Oscar, preferred to Mata by Mourinho, who vindicated his coach's decision by scoring the winner with a superb free kick after 27 minutes.

FA Cup draw

Weekend of February 15/16

Man City v Chelsea
Arsenal v Liverpool
Brighton v Hull City
Cardiff City v Wigan Athletic
Sheffield Wednesday v Charlton
Sunderland v Southampton
Everton v Swansea City

Sheffield Utd or Fulham will play Nottingham Forest or Preston North End after replays.

Mata's $61.22 million move sees him join a team who have only the Champions League and possibly the Premier League to play for, with United already having been knocked out of the FA Cup and League Cup.

His former teammates, meanwhile, have a tough trip to the other side of Manchester, where in-form City stand between them and the quarter-finals.

'Smashing every team'

Manuel Pellegrini's men have scored 110 goals this season as they chase four trophies, and have won all 11 of their home matches.

That doesn't bother Mourinho.

"No problem. If you want to be the best then you have to play the best, so it's good for us," he told ITV Sport.

"The best way to improve is difficult things," the Portuguese later told a press conference.

"We play against the best team twice in 15 days, in the best stadium…the stadium where they win every game, the stadium where they smash every team, the stadium where they score four or five goals against every team.

"We are going to go there with a good attitude, we have nothing to lose. They have everything to lose."

Eden Hazard, the other midfielder who had kept Mata out of the team, also put in a solid night's work to give Mourinho plenty to be grateful for on his 51st birthday.

Mourinho earlier said that the club had completed the signing of Basel's Egyptian winger Mohamed Salah, for a reported fee of $18.1 million.

Sunday's draw also saw Premier League leaders Arsenal drawn against Liverpool, meaning the top four in the table all play each other in the FA Cup. City are in second, Chelsea are in third.

Wigan Athletic, who beat City in last year's final just before being relegated, travel to Cardiff City – now managed by a former winner, Ole Gunnar Solksjaer.

Roberto Martinez, who led Wigan to the cup last year, takes on another of his old clubs after Everton were drawn against Swansea.


Al Jazeera
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