Football: Gullit not afraid of tough decisions

Chelsea 0 Leeds United 0
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The Independent Online

Chelsea 0 Leeds United 0

Ruud Gullit has told his Chelsea players to brace themselves for Wembley disappointment as he gets tough in his bid to bring the FA Cup to Stamford Bridge.

The Dutchman has not been afraid to shuffle his highly talented pack this season, with Gianluca Vialli perhaps the biggest name to suffer as Gullit has combined a ruthless streak with his desire to play the beautiful game.

And with just next week's final Premiership outing at Everton left before they play Middlesbrough in the FA Cup final at Wembley, the Chelsea manager is already facing up to the selection process that will bring joy to some and heartbreak to others.

"Of course there will be some disappointed people," he said. "I understand that because I had to sit in the stands in a European Cup final against Marseilles," said Gullit, recalling his days at Milan.

"It was important to see players coming back from injury such as Dennis Wise and next week I hope Steve Clarke and Eddie Newton will play. I need to see how fit everybody will be for the final."

The Leeds result means that Chelsea will have to win at Goodison next week and then hope both Aston Villa and Sheffield Wednesday slip up in their remaining matches if Gullit is to secure a top-five finish and the automatic Uefa Cup place that goes with it. But, realistically, their best hope of qualifying for Europe lies in winning at Wembley.

They had the best of a largely uninspiring contest in which the Yorkshire side showed the kind of resolve that George Graham has installed during nine goalless draws since he took over in October.

Chelsea are almost certain to get at least one new acquisition to their front-line before next season, with Gullit revealing he his close to signing the Norwegian international Tor Andre Flo from Brann Bergen.

Chelsea: Grodas; Petrescu, Vialli, M Hughes, Wise, Di Matteo (P Hughes 66), Minto, Johnsen, Sinclair, Nicholls (Morris, 87), Granville. Substitutes not used: Parker, Clement, Colgan (gk).

Leeds United: Martyn; Kelly, Dorigo, Palmer, Radebe, Wetherall, Rush, Deane, Bowyer, Lilley, Halle. Substitutes not used: Sharpe, Wallace, Laurent, Molenaar, Beeney (gk).

Referee: J Winter (Stockton-on-Tees).

Bookings: Chelsea Johnsen, Sinclair, Minto; Leeds Bowyer.

Man of the match: Wise.

Attendance: 28,277.