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English Premiership

Thousands flock to Chelsea victory parade


LONDON, May 25- An estimated 70,000 people took to the streets of west London on Monday to watch Chelsea show off their Premier League and League Cup trophies in an open-top bus parade.

Hordes of blue-clad fans exploited the opportunity afforded by a public holiday to line the route as three buses took players and staff on a winding tour of the roads adjacent to their Stamford Bridge home.

Chelsea lifted the Premier League trophy on Sunday after winning 3-1 at home to Sunderland in their final league game, having beaten Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 in the League Cup final in March.

Addressing the fans, manager Jose Mourinho said: “Thank you for everything, for all your support. Book another place for the parade next season. I hope we can give you that.”

The 52-year-old Portuguese, who returned to Chelsea for a second stint as manager in 2013, then made an unconvincing attempt at a Chelsea anthem, singing: “Blue is the colour, la, la, la, la, la!”

The club’s Russian owner Roman Abramovich took part in the parade, along with members of Chelsea’s European Youth League and FA Youth Cup-winning squad.

Veteran striker Didier Drogba, who played the final game of his second Chelsea spell against Sunderland, was on the first of the three buses.

Long-serving goalkeeper Petr Cech is also expected to leave the club after losing his place to Thibaut Courtois, but he did not discuss his future when he addressed supporters.

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“We are all blue, so we are all the same,” said the 33-year-old Czech Republic international.

But his Nigerian team-mate John Mikel Obi led the crowd in a chorus of: “Petr Cech, we want you to stay!”

In an interview broadcast earlier on Chelsea’s in-house television channel, Mourinho warned that his side will have to improve if they want to successfully defend the league title next season.

“We have to be better if we want to be successful again,” he told Chelsea TV. “The other opponents are not going to accept this without a fight.

“Next year will be more difficult, but because it’s difficult is one of the reasons why I came back to England. I will enjoy it again.”

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