City clash 'very important' - Ramires

  • Last Updated: February 1 2014, 15:08 GMT

Ramires has described Chelsea's trip to Manchester City as "very important" in terms of the Premier League title race.

Ramires: No Premier League winner's medal in his collection
Ramires: No Premier League winner's medal in his collection

In his three seasons so far at Stamford Bridge, Ramires has won the Champions League, Europa League and FA Cup trophies, but a Premier League winner's medal has proved elusive.

Blues boss Jose Mourinho has repeatedly played down his side's title chances this season, believing City, who are three points better off in the standings, to be the clear favourites.

Nevertheless, Mourinho and Ramires want to ensure Chelsea push City, who lost 2-1 at Stamford Bridge in October but have an enviable 100 per cent record from 11 games at the Etihad Stadium, scoring 42 goals.

"We all know that it's going to be a difficult game but we beat them at home, even if that was also a tough match," Ramires told Chelsea's official website.

"We hope we can win on Monday because if we want to win the title it will be very important.

"Despite the fact it will be difficult, a victory there would be very sweet and we are going to give our very best."

Chelsea have won the Premier League title once since the end of Mourinho's first spell in September 2007 - in 2009/10 under Carlo Ancelotti - and the Portuguese believes the Blues will be contenders next season.

Those public declarations of being underdogs do not hide the fact Mourinho wants to win the title this season, too.

Ramires added: "When I arrived at the club everybody was saying the same about the Champions League; we were going close every year without winning it, but eventually we managed to win it.

"It's more or less the same with the Premier League, we all dream of winning it and we have to try our very best to do so. If we were able to do that it would be a very big moment in my career."

The Brazil international faces a difficult test on Monday up against City's vaunted midfield, which includes his compatriot Fernandinho, Yaya Toure and David Silva.

"They are capable of making a big difference," Ramires added.

Chelsea's midfield was boosted by the January arrivals of Nemanja Matic and Mohamed Salah to help the end-of-season push.

Both are ineligible in the Champions League, having played for Benfica and Basel, respectively, so will get their chances in domestic competition.

"They are both very skilful and they are here to try to help us win titles," Ramires said.

"Even though they've arrived midway through the season they can still be very important."

Salah, who could make his debut on Monday, arrived after scoring in Basel's two Champions League Group E defeats of Chelsea, including the winner in the November contest in Switzerland, and in last season's Europa League semi-final at Stamford Bridge.

"Now I hope I can start to score for Chelsea, not against Chelsea," the Egypt winger, who trained with his new team-mates for the first time on Friday, said.

Salah was close to joining Liverpool, but a phone call from Mourinho persuaded him to move to London.

Mourinho believes Salah is joining the right club to grow as a person and as a player, after he was caught up in controversy during his time at Basel.

During a two-legged Champions League qualifier between the Swiss side and Maccabi Tel Aviv last August, Salah refused to shake hands - instead changing his boots in one instance and bumping fists with his opponents in the other - while there were also comments attributed to him expressing an anti-Israeli sentiment.

Salah at the time insisted the comments were fictitious and his actions were a result of external pressures.

In his first interview as a Chelsea player, he said: "I am a footballer - I do not do politics.

"I respect everybody, it doesn't matter where they come from. I do not have a problem with anybody. I am here to play football and I will not speak about this again."


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