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Friday, August 04, 2006

Mourinho confident before game between MLS Allstar and Chelsea

In some ways it seems fitting that Chelsea is the squad to face Major League Soccer's best in the All-Star game on Saturday. Coach Jose Mourinho leads a teamd into the game at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Ill., that has been considered by many to be a true constellation of superstar players.

But the coach describes his team differently: "We feel very, very comfortable together," he explained. "This team has a lot of maturity."

In fact, his attitude has helped bond the multimillionaires under his guidance. As Michael Ballack was formally presented as a Chelsea player at the team's preseason hotel, his main concern didn't seem to be how well he would mesh in the midfield with Frank Lampard, for instance.

The Chelsea players have a tradition that each squad addition has to regale everyone with a song at a team dinner. German player Michael Ballack, sporting a new short cut that might have been inspired by Mourinho's own recent buzz, had yet to perform. "I still have to sing," he admitted to the media.

His tune of choice? "I don't know."

And while Ballack might have been nervous about his karaoke turn, Mourinho, adept at mixing some of the best talent into a cohesive unit, was calm about integrating his new prospects.

"We have new footballers that are high quality, and they bring motivation for us," he said. "They don't come here just to make cash -- they come for a crucial challenge in their careers and new success."