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Former Chelsea and Pisa ace Paul Elliott spoke exclusively to ahead of this week's historic England v Italy Champions League meetings...

Paul Elliott remains a key name in the history of Anglo-Italian football. Born in London in 1964, Elliott carved out a reputation for himself with Charlton, Luton and Aston Villa before joining Serie A's Pisa in 1987. Serving as the Torri's first black player, Elliott's defensive prowess helped this side, also blessed with the abilities of Brazilian enforcer Dunga, survive in Serie A in his first season at the club. Later Elliott returned to the UK with Celtic, where he was to become Scottish Players' Player of the Year in 1991. A seven-figure transfer to Chelsea followed before his career was cut short by a horror knee injury.

Nonetheless, Paul is still very much an active figure in the administrative and cultural side of the game, and a keen fan to boot. He has exclusively shared his experiences and thoughts with in a two-part interview special.

On Monday we spoke to Paul about his thoughts on the Italy v England clashes in general - both in terms of the facts on the pitch, and the cultures surrounding the respective leagues. (Click here for part one if you missed it.) Today we get down to the nitty-gritty with an exclusive look at his predictions ahead of the three Champions League clashes...


Looking back at his old club, Paul said, "It's a game that Chelsea have to win, but I think that Chelsea's home form has been inconsistent, and not convincing.

"If you remember, they had a fantastic home record under [Jose] Mourinho which turned Stamford Bridge into a fortress. In my opinion, Stamford Bridge was the closest thing to Liverpool in the 1970s, and Manchester United through into the 1990s, in that teams would come there and be psychologically beaten before they even entered the field of play.

"Mourinho created the equivalent of that in this century. And that's been lost - that's borne out by the number of draws that they've had. They're just not as convincing as they were."

Inter-Manchester United

Elliott went on to reflect on Mourinho's current club, Inter, with whom the 'Special One' is still maintaining his amazing, hundred-plus game unbeaten home domestic run. The Nerazzurri face Manchester United.

He said of this encounter, "Manchester United need to defend extremely well, but what they've got going for them is that recent clean sheet record. So, they're going in with real, genuine confidence.

"What's going to be interesting is that it's going to be a different type of game for their central defenders. In the Premiership it's a very, very high tempo game, with pace, and real vigour. I think it'll be different here.

"While Inter will have to be the initiators - the onus is on them, as the home team, to play in an offensive manner - I still think that we can see Mourinho's team refusing to play gung-ho football. They're very measured, very calculated in their build-up. But I am interested in their being the home team because of the manner in which they must play.

"At Chelsea, we saw a lot of Mourinho's style: contain, contain, swallow, swallow - then hit on the counter. Chelsea did a lot of that even at home! So I'm interested in the Italian team, and how Mourinho's tactical personality is going to shape it."

Indeed, 'The Mourinho Factor' is perhaps the key element to this clash, as Paul explained further. He continued, "It will be tight, but Inter have to score. Manchester United firmly believe they can beat Inter at Old Trafford, no doubt about it. But if you remember, Mourinho, psychologically, has already felled United at Old Trafford with Porto.

"What I find fascinating about Mourinho is the way he quickly imposes himself. You know it's Mourinho's team. The ability he has: the way he imposes himself, he shapes the team around what he thinks and believe. His impact is unbelievable."

Could it, then, in fact be the start of a match made in heaven? As Paul revealed yesterday, Mourinho could very well be the right man to take Manchester United forward when Fergie steps down...


But on to the Olimpico, where the Gunners face the Giallorossi.

Paul said of this clash, "Will it be more open than the others? I think so. But it depends. If Francesco Totti is fit, if Totti is on fire, he is Roma's catalyst. It is simple as that. I haven't seen for years a team that's so dependent on one player.

"He is the catalyst to everything: the build-up, and also the end product. So, if you stop Totti, you stop Roma, because I don't think they have enough variation. They obviously have other talent but I don't think they have enough. They don't have enough creativity.

"There's Daniele De Rossi - he's a good player, I like him, but he's not a top-class influential player who can dictate the tempo and the outcome of a game in the way that Totti can do it.

"As for Arsenal, I think they'll win over the two legs. There's enough about Arsenal that [Arsene] Wenger - despite their position outside the top four of the Premiership - can do it on the European stage. They will be happy with playing Roma, because their form is somewhat inconsistent, and I think that Arsenal will win the first leg and be comfortable going to Rome."

Paul Elliott is an ambassador for Kick It Out, football's equality and inclusion campaign: