Familiar foes for Solbakken

Stale Solbakken takes his Wolverhampton side to Stamford Bridge with comprehensive knowledge of their Capital One Cup opponent thanks to his fanatic Chelsea-supporting father.

Norwegian Solbakken grew up following the club courtesy of his father, Svein, despite admitting the family ties did not quite rub off as he supported Liverpool during his younger years.

The 44-year-old also has recent personal history with Chelsea, having been dumped out of the Champions League in the last 16, a mere 19 months ago while in charge of FC Copenhagen, losing 2-0 at home before a more than creditable goalless draw in London.

Solbakken, admitting his father will be in the Wolves camp for the third-round tie, said: "I've watched Chelsea on TV for a decade and my father is a big Chelsea supporter. I've grown up with everything from David Webb through to Kerry Dixon, I think I know all their history and everything.

"I think I know all of the Chelsea players from the last 35 years. I'd be likely to know all their names and backgrounds.

"I met them in the Champions League a couple of seasons ago and after that they won the European Cup as well, so we know it's tough opposition for us but in a way it's one of those games where you don't maybe have that much to lose."

Solbakken will be keen to exact revenge following his European heartache in charge of Copenhagen and, despite losing eight of its last nine games against Chelsea, Wolverhampton travels to the capital in good spirits on the back of three successive wins.

He admits as many as "nine or 10" changes will be made for the cup clash, although Solbakken's intentions are not so much a sign of his priorities this season but more his belief in rest and recuperation.

The side has played three games in six days as it battles through a gruelling Championship campaign and faces a further three in seven - starting at the Bridge.

"Many of them will have a well-deserved break but, having said that, I think the team I'm putting out can do exactly the same as the team I could have put out - they are hungry and waiting for their chance," Solbakken said.

"They are also fresh and I think that will be a big difference, if you meet Chelsea with many players who have played three games in six days they will struggle to cope with the fitness level that is demanded in a game like that.

"I have complete faith that the players who haven't played so much so far will do a good job, perhaps a better job."


Source PRESS ASSOCIATION