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Antonio Rudiger sends six-word message to Mason Mount and Chelsea stars ahead of Al Hilal

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Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger has sent a six-word rallying cry to his Blues compatriots who are stepping up for their Club World Cup preparations ahead of Wednesday’s opener against Al Hilal.

Rudiger, 28, featured in the tense 2-1 victory over Plymouth Argyle in the FA Cup before he and the Chelsea stars jetted off to Abu Dhabi on the same day ahead of Club World Cup opener.

“We had to accept that after the break we had, it was tough against an opponent who was very well organised,” Chelsea assistant coach Arno Michels said after the win.

“To play 120 minutes was not the target for today we have to say. We had a bit of little injuries, hopefully only little injuries. So we will see.

“It is not easy to come back after the break and play a game like this. Even if for me, for a long time, it was a good game.”

One major concern that came around from the fourth round FA Cup tie win was the triple injury blow sustained in the game with Mason Mount the main worry ahead of Wednesday’s semi-final.

Michels said on the Mount injury in his post-match press conference: “Hopefully not, we will see. He felt an injury in extra time with this shot on goal.

Only by this shot – it wasn’t a serious problem during the game – it was only when he had the shot he realised he had quick he felt pain and so we took him off.

One day into light training in the Blues’ training camp in the United Arab Emirates and three key figures were missing in the form of Reece James, Edouard Mendy and the aforementioned Mount.

However, the latter of the trio returned to light training on Monday in a positive step ahead of their game at the Mohammad Bin Zayed Stadium.

football.london revealed that the 23-year-old was initially put through his paces by Michels and Zsolt Low on Monday afternoon in Thomas Tuchel’s absence, with James and Mendy still the only players missing.

James was initially not expected to travel to Abu Dhabi, as Tuchel ruled out his presence ahead of the match against Plymouth.

James is completing his rehabilitation from a hamstring suffered against Brighton in December, and was included among the numbers to make the trip.

However, Chelsea have not included him in their official squad list that was submitted to FIFA on Monday morning.

Mendy, has been included in that list, and will join up after the squad having won the AFCON title with Senegal on Sunday.

Ahead of the club’s second attempt at world dominance in the club scene, Chelsea’s No.2 has sent Mount and co a rallying cry ahead of the teams efforts to make Saturday’s showpiece event with Brazilian side Palmeiras or Egyptian side Al Ahly a reality.

On his Twitter account @ToniRudiger, he tweeted: ‘Pumped up and ready to go! [followed by three emojis.]

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Rio Ferdinand issues major warning about Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag

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Former centre-back Rio Ferdinand believes it is still too early to judge whether Erik ten Hag is the right man to lead Manchester United back to the top, despite their unquestionable improvement under him this season.

United head into tomorrow’s Manchester derby against City at Old Trafford with the knowledge that a win will lift them to within a point and place of their neighbours in the Premier League table.

The Reds have lost just one of their last 18 matches since being battered 6-3 by City back in October, featuring a current run of eight wins on the bounce.

The Reds, such is the level of progress they have made under Ten Hag this season, are now considered as one of the favourites to qualify for the Champions League for next season.

They have made significant strides in a relatively short space of time and victories over the likes of Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur already this season have proven that they are capable of competing in the upper echelons of the table again.

However, despite heading into the second half of the campaign with form in their sails, Ferdinand insists the jury is still out on Ten Hag, despite him reaching 20 wins as United manager quick than any of his predecessors.

“I think it’s too early to say,” said Ferdinand to the Mirror. “We’ve been here with previous managers when it looks like we are onto something.

“We’ve got to be patient and give the man time. I think all the signs are very positive at the moment. He’s come in and seen what is happening, assessed how things are, looked at individuals and looked at the shape of the team.

“These were a bunch of players that were quite low. They were shot to pieces and he’s had to build, not only footballers, but men back up again. He’s had to build a lot of human beings back up and that takes time.

“The fact he’s now talking about qualifying for the Champions League so positively, he can sense a confidence coming back into this team. There’s a consistency of performance from the team that wasn’t there before and the signals and signs are all very promising.

“But they’re still not where they want to be. City are way ahead of where United are. The distance is a bit closer, but it’s still not anywhere near where we want it to be. There’s still work to be done.”

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Manchester United takeover bids ‘expected imminently’ with serious interest in Club

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Manchester United are expecting takeover offers from across the world as they are set to invite bids ahead of ‘mid-February deadline’.

The Telegraph have reported that the club have received ‘serious interest’ from consortiums based in the Middle East, Asia and the United States.

British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe is also weighing up an offer, as the Glazers hope to the sell one of the biggest clubs in the world for over £5billion.

The report also adds that parties who had been interested in taking over Chelsea, before Todd Boehly’s £4.25bn takeover, are set to return with approaches for the Red Devils.

It’s expected that potential investors will go public with their attempts to buy United in the coming weeks with the clock ‘now ticking on a deal’.

Senior United figures will issue a mid February deadline for formal offers in order to help get get the takeover completed before the end of the season.

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Confirmed: Chelsea ready to make late bid to hijack another Arsenal transfer

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Chelsea will make a late attempt to scupper Arsenal’s hopes of finally signing Mikhailo Mudryk from Shakhtar Donetsk.

The Gunners have submitted their third bid for the Ukraine international winger and hope an offer of £62m before add-ons, which take the deal closer to £70m, will be enough to break the deadlock between the two clubs.

Chelsea’s interest in the 21-year-old winger was earlier this week described only as ‘exploratory’ but ESPN now claim that Todd Boehly will test the waters and attempt to throw a spanner in the works for the Premier League leaders.

Shakhtar’s technical director Darijo Srna was pictured at Stamford Bridge last week as he watched Chelsea’s defeat against Manchester City and Boehly would have little issue with meeting an asking price which is closer to £88million.

Arsenal are said to be confident that their latest bid for Mudryk will be enough to finally secure the services of their No.1 January target, but have already been beaten to the punch once this month by their west London rivals.

Chelsea won the race to sign Joao Felix on loan from Atletico Madrid amid competition from Arsenal and Manchester United, but the Portugal international’s promising debut ended in devastating fashion when he was sent off just shy of the hour mark for a dangerous challenge on Fulham’s Kenny Tete.

Felix will now miss the next three games through suspension as the problems mount for Chelsea’s under-fire manager Graham Potter.

‘It sums up where we are at the moment – everything that can go wrong, is going wrong,’ Potter said after Chelsea’s 2-1 west London derby defeat.

‘It was a forward’s tackle from Joao, there was no malice in it but I understand why it was a red. It is another blow the hits keep coming at the moment.

‘He was really good you could see his quality in the game so it is doubly disappointing for us because he was looking dangerous throughout.

‘I don’t think there was too much malice in it and it is an unfortunate action and we are going to lose him now for three games.’

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