Football: Gullit rules out Cup return as Chelsea prepare for might of United

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The Independent Online
Ruud Gullit yesterday ruled out FA Cup transplant surgery which would put himself back in the heart of the Chelsea team.

"I wouldn't bring myself into the starting side unless it was an emergency - and at the moment it's not an emergency," he said. "Of course I'd like to play. It's a big game, but I've only been training for four days. I still have the vision, but not the pace or the physical condition."

Chelsea will be facing a United side on the rebound from losing to Coventry, and Gullit feels they might be distracted by other commitments.

"They've got a lot of priorities, but the Champions' League is the main one," he said. "At Milan that we did that after we won the title for the second time. We focused on the European Cup, left the league for what it was, and won the Cup. I think that's normal and I can understand it. You can see they're more focused on those [Champions' League] occasions. That's OK."

The Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger, rallied behind David Seaman yesterday as his side prepared to take on Port Vale. The England goalkeeper has come under fire for a series of below-par performances, but Wenger believes Seaman will use today's game to confirm his reputation.

"The critics have been too harsh," he said. "People do not expect him to make mistakes. When he does they stand out. He's feeling unlucky at the moment but I've told him to be less cautious and that means accepting the odd error."

Wenger was also keen to put some off-the-field distractions behind the Gunners after Dutch striker Dennis Bergkamp was reported as saying he could smell drink on team-mates before training.

"There is no problem with professional behaviour at my club, and that includes drinking," Wenger said. "There might have been a problem when Dennis arrived. However, his comments do not reflect the way I run my club. It was on the players' initiative that alcohol was banned whenever we are together as a team, even if we've won. However, we should not get carried away. The Germans drink a lot of beer and they won the World Cup. It's all about moderation."