Mourinho: Fabregas is no Frank

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Legend: Jose Mourinho believes Frank Lampard (pictured) will one day have a statue outside Stamford Bridge.

Jose Mourinho admits it will be impossible to find a replacement for Chelsea legend Frank Lampard. 

Lampard was released by the Blues at the end of last season and has since signed for new MLS franchise New York FC, while also agreeing to play for Manchester City on loan until his new club start training in January. 

The 36-year-old established himself as one of Chelsea's all-time greats during his 13-year stay at Stamford Bridge, becoming the club's record goalscorer and winning the Champions League, Europa League, Premier League, FA Cup and League Cup. 

Mourinho knows Lampard's departure has left a significant hole in his squad, and the Blues manager claims even new signing Cesc Fabregas won't be able to replace the England international on his own. 

Speaking to Rio Ferdinand for BT Sport, Mourinho said: "Frank is Frank, he is irreplaceable. No chance.

"Fabregas is the player we need to modify a little bit the profile of our game. We want to give the next dimension to our game in midfield. 

"But I think we can never say – in spite of Cesc, who is a fantastic player as you know – that, 'This guy is coming to replace Frank', because Frank is Frank. 

"One day he will be alongside Peter Osgood in terms of a statue being built for him, because he's fantastic." 

Chelsea finished last season without any silverware and came a frustrating third in the Premier League. 

Mourinho, in the second season of his second spell as Chelsea boss, has invested heavily in rebuilding the squad with the likes of Fabregas and Diego Costa and Filipe Luis, but he is certain the title race will be tougher than ever. 

"In England it is even stronger now than in my first period,' he said. "Even more now because when I first came Man City didn't have this financial situation they have now. Even Tottenham at this moment, all the top five or six. 

"In this moment can you tell me who is going to win the Premier League? You can't tell me. 

"Can you tell me which one of the top five is going to be outside the Champions League? You can't say. 

"This is what I want. For my concept of what a league should be, this is the best."

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Former Real and Sevilla star looks ahead to UEFA Super Cup

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Split allegiance: Julio Baptista played for both Sevilla and Real Madrid while in Spain.

Julio Baptista does not believe Real Madrid could have come up against a much tougher opponent than Primera Division rivals Sevilla in next week's UEFA Super Cup, but still feels Carlo Ancelotti's star-studded squad are firm favourites to lift the trophy.

The Spanish pair go toe-to-toe in Cardiff on Tuesday after winning the two European competitions last season, with Madrid lifting the Champions League for the first time since 2002 while Sevilla won the Europa League for the third time in nine years.

If history is anything to go by, the match promises to be an exciting affair with clashes between these two sides producing plenty of goals down the years – including a 7-3 success for Madrid last October.

Madrid also boast a much better head-to-head record between the two, but Sevilla are not without their successes and have beaten Madrid in both of their last two home matches, the latest of which being a 2-1 success in March.

And Cruzeiro forward Baptista, who played for both Sevilla and Madrid, believes the Andalusian side will make it tough for the European champions once again.

He told www.lfp.es : "Sevilla have never made it easy for Madrid, I think that for them (Madrid) it's one of the worse teams to face because the Andalusian side are a very uncomfortable opponent. They always fight."

The former Brazil international still feels Madrid hold the edge, though.

"A final is a final. You need to see how the teams are after pre-season, you need to see who has had the better pre-season and how the players are," he said. "There are a series of factors, but Madrid have a very strong squad and are favourites, even though Sevilla have had a spectacular year.

"Sevilla have to have a perfect game, without mistakes. They need to have an impressive game to win.

"Madrid have an incredible team with two players for every place and they are all good. Right now, Madrid could carry on winning lots of titles because they have a great squad."

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Pellegrini warns Hart over No1 spot at City

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Heated competition: Joe Hart is not secure of his place at Man City following the arrival of Willy Caballero.

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini has warned Joe Hart he has no room for error if he wants to remain the team's first-choice goalkeeper.

Hart suffered a dip in form last season which saw him replaced in goal for a month by Costel Pantilimon before the England international re-established himself as Pellegrini's regular number one.

City allowed Pantilimon to depart the club in June when his contract expired and the Romanian subsequently joined Sunderland on a free transfer.

But Pellegrini replaced him in the City squad with Argentine Willy Caballero, who he signed from former club Malaga during the close season.

The Chilean indicated Caballero, 32, will be better placed to challenge Hart for a starting position in the forthcoming campaign.

And Pellegrini may elect to give Caballero an early chance to impress when the Premier League champions face Arsenal in the Community Shield at Wembley on Sunday.

"I have two No. 1 goalkeepers," Pellegrini said. "Willy is a very good goalkeeper, I know him from Malaga. I think he is very happy here. That is why I say we have a stronger squad than last year.

"I will make the decision who will start against Arsenal, not only the goalkeeper, the whole team.

"I am sure Willy will be very important for us but I also continue thinking we have the best goalkeeper in England in Joe Hart.

"Top teams need two players for each position because we have to play so many games during the year."

None of the City players who arrived back from their post-World Cup holidays on Monday, including Sergio Aguero and Vincent Kompany, will be involved in the curtain raiser to the new season against Arsenal.

Pellegrini admitted he will need to treat Aguero in particular with extra care after the Argentina forward played through the World Cup with niggling injuries, including a muscle problem in his thigh.

"I think Sergio needs a very good pre-season," Pellegrini said. "That's why for him it is very important to work two or three weeks intensely and then start playing. We hope this year he will not have injuries."

In addition to Kompany, Pellegrini acknowledged that defenders Martin Demichelis, Pablo Zabaleta and Bacary Sagna would not feature against Arsenal.

Similarly midfielders Fernandinho and Frank Lampard are set to miss out, along with injured striker Alvaro Negredo. And Pellegrini accepted that not all of them will be ready for City's Premier League opener at Newcastle on August 17.

"They are not in the same moment, all of them," said the 60-year-old. "We will see during next week which can be ready for Newcastle but I don't think they all will be ready."

City's star midfielder Yaya Toure was linked with a move away from Eastlands at the end of last season.

The Ivory Coast international was said to be unhappy with, amongst other things, the club's failure to recognise his 31st birthday with a cake.

However, Pellegrini reiterated that Toure is fully committed to City and has no issues with the club.

"There were a lot of reports about a lot of things," Pellegrini added. "But Yaya doesn't have any problems. He works normally here, he wants to stay here, he is very happy here.

"The things that everyone talked about during the summer, I never heard Yaya talking about them, other persons yes, but not Yaya."

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