Poor old Michael Ballack. Nobody can deny that this guy is a class act in the middle of the park, although he must have been born under a bad sign after finishing runner-up in every competition last season, apart from the FA Cup final (his team were beaten by Barnsley in that competition). Nevertheless, the German is determined that the Blues put this right next season, laughing off a certain Scotsman’s claims that his team are too old to win the Premier League.
Indeed, Ballack uses a delightful turn of phrase when responding to the United manager’s comments, claiming that age and experience can be used to their advantage next term. The Daily Telegraph report that he’s confident that the additions of Deco and Bosingwa could make all the difference under Phil Scolari.
“Of course this team can still improve. If you’re 13 or you’re 31, you’re not old. Look at [Claude] Makelele last season, I think he was 34 or 35, yet he still played a very good season. That’s no age for a footballer.
“I think it’s just what happens in the summer break; you tickle each other a little bit. It’s nothing serious. I’m sure they are all trying, especially Manchester United, to make one or two big transfers for very good players, like we did with Deco and Jose Bosingwa.
“You just want more quality and I think we’ve got very good quality. We were behind Manchester United by a millimetre last season and this time we try to be the first.”
It doesn’t look as though any member of the Chelsea camp are going to rise to Fergie’s bait, which is more the pity when you have to contend with ‘The Cristiano Ronaldo Saga, Episode 47’ and ‘Barrygate – the never-ending story’. Perhaps dunderhead John Terry can stir things up a bit, providing he’s not too pe-occupied with that penalty miss.