Date:Friday May 2 2008
Blackburn Rovers striker Benni McCarthy has admitted that the speculation linking him with a move to Chelsea last summer unsettled him, but he has promised he will be back to his best again next season.
Benni, who never makes a secret of his desire to play Champions League football again, was heavily linked with a move to Chelsea last summer with his former Porto manager (and then Chelsea manager) Jose Mourinho understood to be interested, however, any move (even if Mourinho did make a move) didn't come off and he remained at Ewood Park, but he has visibly struggled this season.
McCarthy told the Lancashire Telegraph: "It is a bit unsettling for any player when there are rumours and the possibilities that you might go, especially when it comes from clubs who are playing in the Champions League or fighting for trophies.
"You are flattered by that because it could be a step up, and then it starts to create a bit of tension between your team-mates and the manager.
"It can go to your head and unsettle you, and it's not been a great season because of that, but I've still scored a few goals."
"When there was talk of Jose Mourinho (being after me), who is a coach I know and everyone knows the relationship that we have, I was talking to him a lot and there was this idea that I might join him.
"But I would have liked it if our relationship had just remained as it was, and there was no talk of me joining him at Chelsea.
"That way I could have fully concentrated on Blackburn, and my season might have been better as a result."
McCarthy finished second only to Didier Drogba in last seasons race for the Premier League Golden Boot, but has found goals a lot harder to come by this season (however, he has still scored a creditable 12 in all competitions) and has had to live in the shadow of Roque Santa Cruz. However, Benni insists that with himself, the likes of Santa Cruz, Jason Roberts and Matt Derbyshire around next season will be a VERY good one for himself and Rovers, and the future is VERY bright for the club.
He added: "Next season if I step up my game then with me, Roque, Jason Roberts, and Matt Derbyshire coming through, we'll have no problems in the striking department.
"I'm 30 years old and I still hope, over the next two or three years, there may be the possibility of a sniff of the Champions League with this club.
"The players here are good enough to play in the Champions League so if, for one season, we can concentrate from the word go we have the strength and the possibility to challenge the Manchester United's and Arsenal's."
Benni LOVES his Champions League football doesn't he!!!
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Date:Friday May 2 2008
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