Featured Matches
Previous
Seattle Sounders FC
Los Angeles
ESPN2 2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Richmond Kickers
Crystal Palace
11:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Norwich City
Nice
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Richmond Kickers
Crystal Palace
11:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Brøndby
Silkeborg IF
2
0
FT
Game Details
AIK
Falkenbergs FF
3
0
FT
Game Details
BK Hacken
Djurgarden
2
1
FT
Game Details
Seattle Sounders FC
Los Angeles
ESPN2 2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Tigre
All Boys
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Belgrano de Córdoba
Independiente
12:15 AM GMT
Game Details
Next
May 5, 2009

"Intelligence and emotion" required, says Guus

Chelsea's interim coach Guus Hiddink has called on his players to overcome Barcelona with a combination of "intelligence and emotion'' in their Champions League showdown at Stamford Bridge tomorrow night.

Chelsea's faultless defensive display in the Nou Camp stadium last week nullified a Barcelona attack that has shared 90 goals between them this season.

Hiddink's heroes ensured Barcelona failed to score at home for the first time this season and the goalless draw gives Chelsea a slight advantage going into the return leg of the semi-final.

Now the Dutch coach is confident Chelsea can reach their second successive final by beating a Barca side boosted by their 6-2 demolition of Real Madrid in La Liga over the weekend.

But the Catalan giants are without first-choice defenders Carles Puyol (suspended) and the injured Rafael Marquez and Hiddink has asked his players to put on a performance full of cleverness and passion to reach the final.

"You have to play very intelligently against the top team in Europe now as the slightest error will be punished,'' warned Hiddink.

"On the other hand, you must not play without any emotion. If you do, it might put the brakes on your own performance. If you can combine both, you have a very good game.

"Their 6-2 win was a respectable performance. That was a record for Madrid to concede six. But every game is different.

"This is a team that, of course, is able to score. They have done it almost without exception in the games until last week.

"Having scored six, it gives them a tremendous boost, but, I think it will be different tomorrow.''

Chelsea are driven by a collective desire to reach the final for the second year running in order to finally erase the heartache of their defeat to Manchester United on penalties in Moscow last season.

Some of Chelsea's players will not have many more opportunities to play on Europe's top stage with Frank Lampard, Didier Drogba and Michael Ballack all the wrong side of 30.

But while Hiddink refuses to label Chelsea an ageing side, he does acknowledge time may be running out of some of them.

"It's obvious this team is good,'' declared Hiddink. "The players have a lot of desire. They've proved that in previous Champions Leagues.

"These players don't have five, six, seven years more to have the same chances they've had in recent years.

"It's very respectable that Chelsea have made it into five semi-finals in the last six years.

"That's a sign that the club have big ambitions. But, of course, this is one of the last occasions for these players to get where they want to be.''

Barcelona's players complained bitterly Chelsea were a 'dirty' side in the first leg and played little football in the Nou Camp but Hiddink refused to be drawn into a war of words leading up to tomorrow's potentially epic encounter.

"I think it's very human where you are used to scoring every week and then you don't that you get frustrated,'' said Hiddink. "We have the full right to compete.

"I have seen, rather clinically, the supposed toughness of our team in the first game but it was actually rather normal in terms of the challenges that were made, and they were made by both sides.

"We should not try to create something which isn't a reality. If you see some of the challenges from Barcelona in their last game against Real, they were similar to last week and it was rather normal in what is a man's game.''

The key to success for Chelsea tomorrow will undoubtedly be their ability to mark Lionel Messi, Thierry Henry and Samuel Eto'o out of the game once more.

They were all given the luxury of time and space against Real Madrid but there is no chance they will be allowed such freedom by Chelsea.

"I saw that game,'' added Hiddink. "Of course, as a lover of football and the way football can be played, I enjoyed it very much.

"The way they played was very nice to see. They have a lot of circulation in their positions. But, nevertheless, wherever a dangerous player is playing, we have to mark him and we have to play with our initiatives as well.''

Comments

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.