Kalou serious about League Cup

Chelsea striker Salomon Kalou wants to give manager Luiz Felipe Scolari a winning introduction to English cup football at Portsmouth on Wednesday, after coming off the bench to rescue a point against Manchester United.

Scolari is bidding to maintain his unbeaten record since replacing Avram Grant when the Londoners travel to Fratton Park for their League Cup third round meeting with last season's FA Cup winners.

Kalou, set to start the match after his late header earned Chelsea a 1-1 draw with their Premier League title rivals on Sunday, said: "That was my first goal, so hopefully it is the start of a lot of goals and it has given me a lot of confidence. It is a good feeling to come off the bench and score because it was a very important goal. Hopefully, I can get another one at Portsmouth. It will give us confidence being in front of Manchester, because they won the league by two points last season."

Kalou is likely to spearhead Chelsea's attack alongside fit-again striker Didier Drogba, who continues his comeback from pre-season knee surgery. Côte d'Ivoire forward Kalou says the competition for places in Scolari's side can only help Chelsea, beaten by United on penalties in the UEFA Champions League final, as they bid to make amends for last season's lack of trophies.

"We are a stronger now and everyone is fighting for their position. We are trying to be more positive in the team and it is difficult to get in the team. It is a good thing for Chelsea and for us, because once you play with great players you give 200 percent to do your best on the pitch."

Collective thing
Portsmouth defender Sylvain Distin aims to lead Harry Redknapp's side to their first win over Chelsea in nearly 50 years, to make up for Sunday's 6-0 thrashing at Manchester City. "It was a collective thing," said Distin. "Our defending was poor and so was our positioning. There were mistakes everywhere and that is why we conceded six goals. It is part of our jobs to make sure we put things right and we have to make sure we correct things against Chelsea." He added: "It is up to the manager whether we forget the Man City match or whether we analyse it and try to work out where things went wrong."

Redknapp will make wholesale changes from the side humbled at Eastlands, as Portsmouth play their fourth game in ten days after last week's UEFA Cup win over Vitoria Guimaraes and two Premier League matches. Veteran striker Kanu will play his first game since the FA Cup final win over Cardiff in May. England duo David James and Sol Campbell will be among the players left out.

"Maybe it is too much for some of them to play Saturday, Thursday, Sunday. Maybe it is more than they are capable of doing," Redknapp said. "We have got a big week coming up, some big games and we need everyone. We have got Chelsea and Tottenham and then another European game, so we have to pick ourselves up."

Tottenham Hotspur, the League Cup holders after beating Chelsea in last season's final, begin the defence of the trophy away to fellow Premier League strugglers Newcastle United on Wednesday.

The two sides are propping up the table with managerless Newcastle two points above Spurs, booed off by their own fans following a goalless draw against Wigan. "We need not only a win but then to win several games in a row," said new Spurs £8.5 million signing Vedran Corluka. "It doesn't matter what competition it is, we just need wins," the Croatia defender added.