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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Apr 8, 2008

Ballack: Chelsea spurred on by cup of woe

Michael Ballack insists Chelsea are determined to reach the last four of the Champions League to make up for the disappointment of missing out on two domestic trophies this season.

The Blues lost the Carling Cup final to Tottenham before crashing out of the FA Cup to Championship side Barnsley.

The double setback has inspired Ballack and his team-mates to focus on overturning a 2-1 deficit in their European quarter-final return leg against Fenerbahce at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday.

Chelsea are now just three points behind Manchester United in the Barclays Premier League with five games remaining and are perfectly poised for what would be a remarkable double success this season.

'We are still in a good position in the league,' said Ballack. 'We had the dream of this double last season and now it is getting closer and closer.

'More situations can now decide a game. You saw it in the Middlesbrough game against Manchester United. Nobody expected United to lose some points so it can happen.

'It was our fault we lost the Carling Cup, it was not that Tottenham played fantastic football and it was our fault against Barnsley as well.

'When we play our best football, we can win every competition but we have to show this and we didn't do that in the FA and Carling Cup and everybody knows this.

'This is our motivation for tomorrow. We have a strong team with a lot experience. We have shown this in the past and I have confidence we can win the game.

'But it will not be easy. Everybody thought, after the first 45 minutes in Turkey, it would be an easy win for Chelsea. But then the game changed. It should not happen again and we know this. We have to concentrate and prepare well.

'We have a fantastic record at home. It's been a long time since Fenerbahce were in the quarter-final of the competition but they have nothing to lose and that makes them very dangerous.

'If you are the favourite, you always have something to lose. But we know this and we can deal with it.'

Meanwhile, Avram Grant believes his players have an opportunity to create club history as he prepares for his biggest game since taking over the helm last September.

After a season littered with managerial upheaval, serious injuries to key players and the loss of four stars for a month during the African Nations Cup, Chelsea stand on the brink of what would be a sensational double and the significance of their position is not lost on Grant.

'It is a big opportunity to do it,' he said. 'We have spoken about this with the players. We want to use this opportunity. We know that it will not be easy.

'All this season has been very hard with many difficulties but having got to this stage, we want to do our best to use this opportunity.'

Grant's preparations have been rocked by another injury to Czech Republic international goalkeeper Petr Cech.

Cech had only just recovered from an ankle injury and Grant was hoping to recall him for the game against the Turks.

But Cech required surgery, and reportedly 50 stitches, on a facial after a training-ground collision with a team-mate and is out for a further two weeks.

Grant said: 'He has been a little bit unlucky this year. He was great in training and felt very good. He got injured in training and will be out for two weeks or something like that.

'It was a tackle between two players, it does not matter who the other player was. What matters is that he is injured. This year has not been a good year for him, it is his third injury.'