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By ESPN Staff
Apr 28, 2009

Hiddink hails "inspirational" Terry

Chelsea coach Guus Hiddink hailed captain John Terry as the inspiration behind his side's brilliant defensive performance in Barcelona.

The Blues held firm in the face of sustained pressure to secure a 0-0 draw at the Camp Nou in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final against the Catalan giants.

Barcelona had scored in every home games this season - having last been held at home by Manchester United at the same stage of last year's competition.

Frank Rijkaard was still Barca coach then and they have been a different prospect since he was replaced by Pep Guardiola in the summer.

However, they were kept at bay by a Chelsea backline marshalled superbly by the "inspirational" Terry.

"He was inspiring, an example for the rest of the team," Hiddink said after the match. "You have to play courageously and play with a lot of intelligence against Barcelona, you cannot just play a tough game.

"This team has a lot of courage and a lot of blood, mentally it was great performance," he added.

Hiddink also praised the contribution of goalkeeper Petr Cech, who began shakily but made great saves to deny Thierry Henry, Dani Alves and Samuel Eto'o.

"He did a good job defensively, he intervened in one or two situations and he saved the game for us," he said.

The Dutch coach predicted on Monday Jose Bosingwa would thwart Lionel Messi and the Dutchman was pleased with the Portuguese full-back's contribution on the night.

"Bosingwa did a good job and got good help from Malouda on the left. Also, when Messi moved inside, he got help from Terry," he said.

Hiddink was even happier with the collective defensive performance of his side and, despite failing to score an away goal, declared himself happy with the result.

"We are pleased with the result," he continued.

"If you look at the recent history of Barca, you will see it is a long time since they last failed to score in a home game.

"That's quite an achievement against a beautiful team who play beautiful football.

"We were disciplined tactically and technically, I think we didn't keep possession well in the first half, gave too many balls away, but in the second half we did a lot better.

"The result is a compliment to the team, achieved in a very difficult circumstances."

Hiddink believes the tie is now very much in the balance ahead of the return match at Stamford Bridge on May 6.

"In the next game there is big advantage for either side, nothing is decided, we got a good result against a good team," he added.

Messi was expected to shine for the Catalans but was kept quiet following a lively start and Hiddink was pleased with how his team coped with the Argentinian's threat from the right.

"Messi was rather well neutralised tactically tonight," Hiddink said. "It can happen one night that you stop him, but I don't think it will happen twice."

Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola said Messi had done well considering how tightly he was marshalled by a physically strong and aggressive Chelsea side.

"He was the victim of extremely tight marking so it was not easy for him to find space," he said. "I think he did great given the circumstances."

Guardiola noted that Chelsea had played very cautiously with effectively six defenders and only Drogba up front.

"It's never easy to play well when the opposition is not playing football," he said. "I am proud of my players. You can be sure we will go to London with the same attacking spirit."

The absence of Rafael Marquez, who suffered a season-ending knee injury on Tuesday, and the suspended Carles Puyol for the second leg at Stamford Bridge next week was a blow, Guardiola said.

"They are very important players but that's no excuse for not getting to the final and we will find a solution for sure.

"Definitely the loss of Rafa is the worst news of the day but I think it will make us stronger."

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