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Football: FROM ROSSI WITH LOVE.. BARCLAYS PREMIERSHIP Chelsea v Newcastle, 7.45pm Fergie's good luck messages to Toon loan star.

Byline: Simon BIRD

GIUSEPPE ROSSI has been sent on a mission to do damage to Chelsea's title hopes tonight - by his teammates at Manchester United.

The teenage striker will line up on the right wing for Newcastle at Stamford Bridge with every incentive to turn on the style.

Rossi will return to United from his loan spell on Tyneside on January 1, and will have hero status if he helps Glenn Roeder's men take points off the champions.

Roeder reveals Rossi, 19, has had messages of support from Old Trafford and has "a big part to play" in preventing Chelsea cutting United's lead to five points at the top of the table.

The Newcastle boss also reckons it will be Chelsea's toughest ask yet to retain their Premiership crown.

Roeder said: "Young Rossi has every chance of playing, and I know that nothing would give him more pleasure that helping us get something out of Chelsea.

"It goes without saying that it would also give his boss Sir Alex Ferguson a lot of pleasure too. He could do his club a big favour.

"I am sure he will be getting plenty of good luck messages from his mates in the North West.

"This time last year the title race was as good as over. But this year there is a race on. It looks like both managers are super-confident they will retain or regain the title.

"Chelsea are not under pressure. If I was in the Chelsea camp I would not be feeling it at all.

"They have won it from the front for the last two years and this time it is different with them in second spot - and the fact there is a battle on is good for the neutral.

"Every year you retain the league title it becomes a bigger test the next year, and that's what Chelsea have now to win it a third time. If they do win it, it will be a bigger deal than the last two titles."

Despite Toon's injury crisis that will see James Milner play as an emergency right back, Rossi on the right wing and teenager Matty Pattison down the left, Roeder believes his side can upset the odds.

He said: "Only a fool would come out and say we can win it, but we will guarantee to produce the same spirit, determination and fight as we have over the last two months of good results. And the same as we showed at Arsenal when we came away with a draw."

Titus Bramble has been released from hospital after an eight-day stay for treatment on a blood clot in his calf. He is a month away from a return, but Nicky Butt is fit after a bout of flu.

Roeder has written off any chance of landing Peter Crouch from Liverpool, despite being a confirmed admirer of the player.

Newcastle have been linked with the 6ft 7in star and Roeder said: "He is playing Champions League and for England and I cannot think why he would leave Liverpool.

"But he is a vastly improved player, and one I'm in the camp of liking. But I can't see why Rafael Benitez would let him leave."

CAPTION(S):

SINK THE BLUES: Rossi, in his Man United shirt (above) and the stripes of Newcastle, aims to show his true colours against Chelsea tonight
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Dec 13, 2006
Words:561
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