Posted on: Mon 09 Oct 2006

At last season's visit to Middlesbrough, Chelsea provided the worst performance and suffered the worst result during Jose Mourinho's time at the club. Motivation by the manager for Wednesday evening's re-match should be a simple task.


A goal was conceded in only the second minute at the Riverside in February, a set-back that Mourinho believed was the product of individual errors by six different Chelsea players. Following that the team found it impossible to find a way back and the game was eventually lost 3-0.


The Chelsea manager later expressed a wish to draw Middlesbrough in the FA Cup as there would be no need for a team talk. That didn't happen but inevitably the Premiership has brought the chance to make amends.


"Last season was last season so it has no effect on this one but it did leave a bitter taste," admits Frank Lampard who played in the defeat. He was speaking to Chelsea's radio partner Smooth FM 102.2.


"It is the one performance last year that stands out as our worst so we will try and put that right. But the most important thing is to get six points out of six at the start of the season."


In the opposing defence for last season's meeting was Gareth Southgate, now the Middlesbrough manager. The Chelsea challenge is his first in charge in front of his own supporters.


"I always saw management in him," says Lampard. "He was very good to me when I first got in the England squad. I was 21 and he was very experienced and he helped me a little bit then so I could see he had that about him. I think he is a nice fella and good luck to him."


Claude Makelele has rejoined the Chelsea squad for the game having recovered from a hamstring problem. Geremi is back training after a similar problem saw the right-back miss the weekend's action, but he is not yet ready for the squad. New signing Khalid Boulahrouz has travelled.


Hear Smooth FM's full interviews, pre-match build-up and live radio commentary on tonight's game by tuning to 102.2.


by Paul Mason