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Champions League Group G

Yakin wary of Chelsea threat

Basle boss Murat Yakin has admitted Chelsea are clear favourites for their Champions League clash at Stamford Bridge.

Last Updated: 17/09/13 at 19:32 Post Comment

Murat Yakin: Preparing his side to meet Chelsea

Murat Yakin: Preparing his side to meet Chelsea

Basle boss Murat Yakin has admitted Chelsea are clear favourites for Wednesday night's Champions League Group E opener at Stamford Bridge.

Yakin has set his side, beaten by the eventual winners Chelsea in the Europa League semi-final last season, the task of qualifying for the knockout stages of the European Cup, but knows the first test is the most difficult.

"We've got six games and of course we want to go through and of course we want to still be playing in international competition after the winter break," Yakin said.

"We've gained a lot of experience in the matches that we played last season and now we've got Schalke and (Steaua) Bucharest in this group. We'll be playing for second place with these two teams.

"Chelsea is the clear favourite, but we'll see after the first two games and then we'll have a benchmark where we can judge and see where we'll stand."

Basle have a good record in Europe against English teams, having contributed to Manchester United's early elimination from the 2011/12 Champions League and seen off Tottenham in last year's Europa League before the defeat to Chelsea.

Yakin, who was in the Stuttgart side beaten by Chelsea in the 1998 Cup Winners' Cup final, is not interested in previous results.

He added: "You want to look forward, you want to see what you can achieve in the future.

Yes, these past games, the final and losing out last year are great experiences. (But) now our main thing is to look at these six games that we have ahead of us and to do as possible in these six games.

"It's a different competition this time."

Yakin also played down the impact of Chelsea's poorest start to a Barclays Premier League campaign in a decade and is looking forward to tackling Jose Mourinho, after having Rafael Benitez in the opposing dugout in April and May.

"This team (Chelsea) has the quality that the next game they can turn it around again," Yakin added.

"If you look at what Benitez achieved, he actually won the competition (the Europa League).

"With Mourinho maybe they play a little bit more offensive and it's interesting to see how he's going to be replacing Ramires (who is suspended).

"We're not concentrating on their line-up and the way they're going to be playing, we're going to concentrate on ourselves, on our team and try to give our best.

"A manager like Jose Mourinho, he's won titles in four countries already, that's a benchmark for a manager.

"Now I'm looking forward to this game, my first game in the Champions League, and yes, I'm here, I'm willing to learn a lot and I hope I will learn a lot."

Serey Die and Mohamed El Neny are the only definite absentees for Basle.

Behrang Safari, who re-joined Basle from Anderlecht in the summer, is optimistic of an upset.

He said: "I don't think we feel any pressure at all. We just know that we're going to go out and fight for 90 minutes.

"We know Chelsea is a great team, they have a lot of experience, but we have great confidence, we have great atmosphere in our team and we know that together we're very strong."


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