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Mental strength key for Chelsea against Manchester United – Mokoena

The former Bafana skipper shares his thoughts on the upcoming Premier League clash between the Blues and the Red Devils

In an aim to clinch their 13th win in the English Premier League this season, Chelsea will be at home to Manchester United on Monday night and former Bafana Bafana and Blackburn Rovers defender Aaron Mokoena is anticipating a thrilling encounter.

‘Mbazo’ believes the two managers, Frank Lampard and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, will be eager to get a win considering their competitive nature, and he expects a good game of football at Stamford Bridge.

The Red Devils are fresh from a goalless draw against Wolverhampton Wanderers at home whilst the Blues drew at Leicester City in their most recent Premier League matches.

“It’s going to be an exciting game and both managers or coaches are individuals that have played the game at the highest level, they have won big trophies such as the Uefa Champions League and Premier League,” Mokoena told Goal.

“It’s going to be a good challenge for both of them and we all know they are pushing to finish in the top four.

“I usually say it’s not over until over. All in all, it’s going to be a good game of football.”

The Blues have been inconsistent so far this season, and have won just one of their last four home games, and South Africa‘s 2010 Fifa World Cup skipper believes whoever turns up on the day will clinch the points.

“With football, it’s who turns up on the day. The team that starts and finishes well can win this one,” he added.

“In saying that, goals will be the determining factor and shutting the back door will be key.

“It also depends on how the players absorb the pressure of playing home and in modern football, it doesn’t matter where you play but you must go out there and get the results.

“It’s not about why Chelsea is struggling at home but getting the right preparation, asking the right questions is what can work for them.

“I played against Lampard and I know him as someone who is very competitive. He loves the game and it’s the same thing with Solskjaer. He is very passionate.

“At the end of the day, home advantage counts because you have the 12th man on the stands but it’s about how Chelsea players absorb the pressure and face United.

“Both managers are under pressure and will look to register a win out of this game, but I need to emphasize that mental strength and good preparation will be vital especially for the hosts.”

Coming back to the former England midfielder and Blues legend, Mokoena is confident Lampard has a bright future as a manager and believes the blend of experience and youth at Chelsea will be key to their success.

“Having played in the EPL, it’s one of the most competitive leagues in the world. The EPL can take a lot out of the so-called youngsters because the supporters are expecting the results,” continued the Bafana legend.

“Both teams have supporters that are looking for wins, trophies and this pressure is also on the managers hence I’m saying we can expect a good game. It’s difficult to put my head on the block now because it’s a tough one to predict.

“Both managers are ambitious and will come up with good tactics to win this one and try to boost their top-four ambitions.

“Chelsea have young players but for me, it’s how you use them, there’s a good blend of young and experienced at Chelsea. It goes back to the old saying that young boys don’t win your games but experience does.

“It’s how and when you do things especially in a league such as the Premier League. But occupying a top-four spot is a good sign or step for Lampard in his first season.

“In the end, it’s all about teaming up, the unity and the will to fight for each other that wins you games. It’s going to be a fantastic game.”

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