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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Apr, 29, 2009

Malouda wants strong ref for Barcelona's visit

Chelsea winger Florent Malouda wants the referee in charge of next week's Champions League semi-final return leg to withstand any play-acting from Barcelona's stars.

Many of Barcelona's players resorted to rolling around on the floor following challenges from Chelsea players during their goalless draw in the Nou Camp stadium on Tuesday night.

It was the first time Barcelona had failed to score at home this season as Chelsea's defensive discipline stifled an attack which has shared 90 goals so far this season.

Malouda sacrificed his natural attacking ambitions to help out in defence as Chelsea kept the likes of Lionel Messi, Thierry Henry and Samuel Eto'o at bay.

But Malouda, who had a spat with Daniel Alves in the first half, was concerned that Barca will continue their play-acting tactics in the second leg at Stamford Bridge and urged the referee to remain strong.

He explained: ''I think we were really strong mentally to resist that because when you challenge for the ball and see your opponent rolling on the floor, you have to stay calm and focused on the game.

''I hope the referee won't help them for the second leg. It is part of our game to put pressure on the opponent. But it is part of the referee's game to help us challenge fairly.

''We knew they would try to put more and more pressure on us so we had to stay really disciplined. The manager gave us some advice to stay strong and I am really happy with the result.''

Malouda is expecting Chelsea to finish the job at home but doesn't expect Barcelona to deviate from their natural attack-minded game.

He added: ''At home, in front of our fans, we are expecting to win against Barcelona. They were technically really quick and confident. It was difficult for us to contain them and to avoid conceding a goal.

''I think they will play the same way at Stamford Bridge as when you have that quality in your squad, they like to get the ball and control the game.

''It will be the same kind of opposition in London but I hope we are going to get a better result.''

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