Malouda warns of Marseille threat

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Chelsea winger Florent Malouda insists Marseille will provide a difficult test for the Blues as they welcome back former player Didier Deschamps to Stamford Bridge.

The ex-Chelsea midfielder is relishing his return to the club as Marseille manager having played one season with the Blues until the summer of 2000. Marseille won the French title by six points last season after a wait of 18 years and Malouda insists they will be a lot tougher than MSK Zilina.

"Marseille will be a difficult one because if you look at the recent years the French teams have done well in the Champions League," said Malouda. "Last year they had two teams in the last eight. It is big for Marseille, they were champions last year and were waiting a long time, so they will want a good start."

He added: "They won't want to come to Stamford Bridge and lose 4-0 like Bordeaux did two years ago. I can tell you it will be difficult in both games. Over there it is a big atmosphere but we are used to that."

Marseille's current squad contains former Manchester United and Real Madrid left-back Gabriele Heinze and ex-Porto midfielder Lucho Gonzalez.

They have made some big changes in attack where last season's leading scorer Mamadou Niang, who contributed 18 goals to the league campaign, has moved on along with Bakary Kone and Fernando Morientes.

The strikers have been replaced by two France players in Loic Remy, whose transfer was held up due to concerns over a heart condition, and Andre-Pierre Gignac.

Deschamps, 41, insists that it will be a tough job to return home from Stamford Bridge with any reward because of Chelsea's strength in depth.

"Returning to Stamford Bridge will give me great pleasure," added Deschamps. "Although the stadium itself is renovated and much bigger, the wonderful ambience which I experienced remains.

"Chelsea have a very competitive European team with something like 20 internationals - a great compensation if you have injured or suspended players. Not only do Chelsea want to win this trophy, they are among four or five teams which can legitimately expect to do so. They won the Premier League title last season and are already performing really well."

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European News
Florent Malouda
Premier League
UEFA Champions League
Manchester United

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