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21.03.2006 Football News

No discipline problem at Chelsea - Essien

By Reuters

LONDON - Michael Essien has insisted Chelsea do not have a problem with poor discipline and will recover from their defeat at Fulham by winning a Premier League and FA Cup double.

Chelsea made headlines for all the wrong reasons for the second week running at the weekend when William Gallas was sent off during a controversial 1-0 defeat at Craven Cottage.

The previous week winger Arjen Robben was sent off and coach Jose Mourinho was embroiled in a row with his West Bromwich Albion counterpart Bryan Robson after the Chelsea team were late taking to the field for the second half.

Gallas will miss the FA Cup quarter-final against Newcastle on Wednesday while Robben is serving a four-match suspension for his red card in the 2-1 victory at West Brom.

Chelsea also had Asier Del Horno sent off in their Champions League tie against Barcelona while Essien received a two-match suspension for a dangerous tackle on Liverpool's Dietmar Hamann in the same competition.

Ghana midfielder Essien, however, does not accept that ill discipline is a problem at Stamford Bridge.

"We are all disciplined and respect everybody. Sometimes these things happen in games but we are well disciplined," he said at Chelsea's Cobham training ground on Tuesday.

"We will miss William Gallas a lot, he's one of our key players but we have players to replace him."

Gallas was sent off late on after a stamp on Fulham striker Heidar Helguson, a decision Essien said was "a little harsh".

Essien said the defeat will make his team mates even more determined to beat Newcastle.

"The FA Cup is special for the club," he said. "We haven't done the double before and I hope we can do it this year.

"We lost last Sunday but we have to think about what's coming next. Newcastle won't be easy but I think at the end we'll win.

"Our confidence has not been knocked. Football is full of surprises. You win some and lose some, but we still have confidence we can do something."

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