Chelsea not too old, says Ballack
Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Michael Ballack has hit back at Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson's suggestion that Chelsea will be less of a threat next season, reports BBC.

Ferguson said that he did not expect to see "outstanding progress coming from a team in their 30s".

But Blues midfielder Ballack, 31, said: "Our team can still improve. If you are 30 or 31 you are not old.

"Claude Makelele was 34 and played well last season. This sort of banter occurs between people during the summer."

Makelele, now 35, switched to Paris St Germain on Monday, while Ballack has recently joined up with the Chelsea squad on tour in the Far East after helping Germany reach the final of Euro 2008.

He is looking forward to working with new Blues boss Luiz Felipe Scolari at Stamford Bridge.
"It is different, you know someone for a few moments but now we are together every day and I am looking forward to it," he added.

"We have only talked for a few minutes since he took over but he is a nice person. He is a successful coach and that is why he is here.

"He has not spoken to me about his philosophy but we have a good squad like last year and we can play a lot of systems."

Ballack also revealed that he would like England midfielder Frank Lampard to remain at the club next season. The 30-year-old former West Ham star has been linked with a move to Inter Milan during the summer transfer window.

"It would be fantastic if he could stay at Chelsea," stated Ballack.

"He is a big player for the club and has done a lot for the club but it is up to him. He knows we are all behind him."

Meanwhile, defender Jose Bosingwa, who joined the Blues in a £16.2m move from Porto in May, is facing three weeks on the sidelines after tearing a thigh muscle on his debut.

The 25-year-old managed only 20 minutes against Chinese Super League side Guangzhou Pharmaceutical on the Far East tour before suffering the problem and - following a scan in Macau - he has been sent back to England for treatment.

However, Chelsea have since described the problem as "minor".

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