Jose's a fan of wide boys
By Alex Dunn
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Jose Mourinho insists Arjen Robben and Florent Malouda can play in the same team.Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has moved to play down reports that have intimated Florent Malouda's arrival at Stamford Bridge will signal the departure of Arjen Robben.
Contract talks between the Dutch winger and Chelsea officials recently broke down and it has been widely reported that Real Madrid are waiting in the wings for long-time target Robben.
The signing of Malouda from Lyon in a £13million deal has only added further fuel to such speculation, but Mourinho is confident the pair could play in tandem.
"We have competition almost in every position and I think that is very, very important," Mourinho said.
"I know that everybody is watching Florent and Robben in the same squad but you have to remember that, in my opinion, the best football we played in the last three years was when Robben and (Damien) Duff were playing together in the same team.
"So why can't Florent and Arjen play together?
"Yes, there is competition between them but yes, they can play together in the same team.
"And I want to make it very, very clear that he's not here to replace anybody. I understand that many people think that's why he's coming but that's not the objective."
It is expected that Malouda should not have too many problems adapting to life at his new club, given he already has a strong relationship with a number of Chelsea's players, the likes of Michael Essien, Didier Drogba and Claude Makelele were former team-mates, and Mourinho admits he tapped into the knowledge of these players before completing the deal.
And it would appear Malouda was given glowing references: "He played before with Didier and Essien and also with Maka in the national team so we know a lot about him.
"We got some inside information about him, not as a player - as a player we already know him - but as a person, his mentality, the way he can adapt to the group. And I think already he feels very, very much at home.
"He knows a lot of the players, he can speak some good English and there are a lot of French-speaking players so it is very easy for him to adapt and our squad is much stronger with a player like him."