Makelele kickstarts festivities for Chelsea's demob-happy crew

Chelsea 1 - Charlton Athletic 0
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The Independent Online

Jose Mourinho was talking about when he wanted to see the hunger in his players' eyes again and luckily for all concerned it was not in this largely academic game. That moment when the Chelsea manager wants to reassess his charges' ambitions and ensure they match his own will come on the first day of pre-season training on 6 July. Until then, they are off the hook.

Jose Mourinho was talking about when he wanted to see the hunger in his players' eyes again and luckily for all concerned it was not in this largely academic game. That moment when the Chelsea manager wants to reassess his charges' ambitions and ensure they match his own will come on the first day of pre-season training on 6 July. Until then, they are off the hook.

As the new Premiership champions, you could forgive the Blues for indulging themselves in their last home game of the season, and indulge they did. Four days after their massive disappointment in losing to Liverpool in the Champions' League semi-final, they probably felt they deserved a light canter in the sporadic Stamford Bridge sunshine and rain.

Some of the team choices spelt out what kind of day it was. The reserve goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini, surely set to leave in the summer, was given a rare start and he himself was replaced by the rookie Lenny Pidgeley, who was making his debut. Mikael Forssell, the Finnish striker so long on the fringes, also made his first league appearance since his return from 18 months on loan at Birmingham City.

Then there was the goalscorer, whose identity revealed everything you needed to know about the west Londoners' approach. As Mourinho detailed later: there is a diagram in the dressing-room. The penalty taker is Frank Lampard unless it is 2-0 in the 90th minute. Well, the players overruled "the special one" on this rare occasion and when Jonathan Fortune was incorrectly adjudged to have fouled Lampard inside the area, none other than Claude Makelele stepped up in the last minute. It was the sort of penalty decision champions get and teams like Charlton, who are on a horrible end-of-season run, get given against them.

The Frenchman, whose importance to Chelsea Mourinho feels has grown since he retired from international football last autumn, could not remember when he had last scored. The chants from the stands of "shoot" when the former Real Madrid player has the ball in his customary station inside the centre circle are purely ironic. Every club has one. It used to be John Jensen at Arsenal and Steffen Freund at Tottenham.

But shoot he did and, although Stephen Andersen saved the first effort, the midfielder poked home the rebound to much joy and hilarity all round.

That was just the start of the festivities and laughter, some of it unintentional, such as the announcer's microphone cutting out just as he was calling out the players' names for them to receive their medal, which brought to mind an old Tiswas sketch which achieved much the same effect at a much lower cost.

There was also the more heart-warming scene where Mourinho shook hands with surviving members of the 1955 championship-winning side, who were also finally presented with their trophy by two of their successors, namely Lampard and the club captain John Terry.

It also gave an unexpected insight as to what this Chelsea team will look like in their dotage. White hair, slightly hunched, just with much fatter pension schemes. Europe may have to wait, but it is highly unlikely this side will have to wait another 50 years to lift the Premier League trophy once more.

Goal: Makelele pen (90) 1-0.

Chelsea: (4-1-4-1): Cudicini (Pidgeley, 82); Johnson (Jarosik, 67), Carvalho, Terry, Gallas; Makelele; Geremi, Tiago (Forssell, 67), Lampard, Cole; Gudjohnsen. Substitutes not used: Kezman, Huth.

Charlton Athletic: (4-5-1): Andersen; Young, El Karkouri, Fortune, Konchesky; Johansson, Holland, Kishishev, Murphy, Hughes; Lisbie. Substitutes not used: Kiely (gk), Fish, Euell, Rommedahl, Fuller.

Referee: M Riley (West Yorkshire).

Booked: Charlton Athletic Fortune.

Man of the match: Makelele.

Attendance: 42,065.

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