It's a 50-50 match

Thursday 14 March 2002

Chelsea boss Claudio Ranieri says he is expecting a major battle when his team meet Fulham in the FA Cup semi-final - and it could go either way.

The two teams met each other last week, with Chelsea edging past The Cottagers 3-2 in a stirring West London derby at Stamford Bridge.

Consequently, Ranieri is expecting another narrow encounter between two very good passing football teams when they meet up again on Sunday, April 14.

He said: "It was a very good game when we played Fulham last, with two squads who wanted to win. Fulham play very good football and I like it.

"The match was very difficult. I expect the same in the FA Cup. It is a 50-50 match.

"I've seen Fulham a few times and they're a good team who create a lot of chances to score. Always every game, it is like this."

Meanwhile, Ranieri has refused to criticise the decision to play the all-west London FA Cup semi-final at Villa Park rather than Highbury.

He added: "I don't mind where the game is played, I am just pleased we're there. There will be the same problems for Chelsea and for Fulham, so it is fair."

Source: Team Talk