Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Chelsea will not bow down to Barcelona's Holy Trinity

Barcelona's attacking triumvirate of Lionel Messi, Thierry Henry and Samuel Eto'o are collectively known as the Holy Trinity.

Chelsea , however, are in no mood to prostrate themselves and pay homage ahead of tonight's Champions League semi-final second leg.

In a statement likely to further fuel the simmering ill feeling between the two sides, Didier Drogba said Chelsea possess a greater array of goalscoring options than their free-scoring opponents.

Drogba represents Guus Hiddink's best hope of securing Chelsea's second successive Champions League final, with 12 goals in his last 15 games, all since the veteran Dutch manager arrived at Stamford Bridge in February.

But Chelsea's battering ram striker insisted the goal threat from Chelsea runs like a razor's edge through the entire side.

Drogba said: “I think, in the last few months, we've shown that we can score goals and, ok, they have Messi, Henry, Eto'o, and Andres Iniesta can also score. But we've got more players able to score. Our midfielders, our defenders can also score. We can score from every position in our side. We know that.”

History is on Chelsea's side tonight. Statistically the Blues are the favourites, with a 66.8 per cent chance of progressing, based on the outcome of all European ties when the first leg has ended goalless.

It proved the case for Manchester United against Barcelona last season, with a 0-0 draw in the Nou Camp followed by a 1-0 victory for the English champions at Old Trafford.

Chelsea can also take comfort from their impressive home form, which has seen them unbeaten in 17 home ties in the Champions League. They may not wish to recall however that the last foreign team to leave Stamford Bridge with a victory was Barcelona, 2-1 victors in February 2006.

But the Barcelona knocked out by Sir Alex Ferguson's United has matured into a awesome side this term. Chelsea pulled out the defensive performance of the season to keep them at bay last week, sparking an avalanche of abuse from Spain.

Drogba however said the insults are water off a duck's back for Chelsea, claiming instead it was an attempt to influence tonight's referee Tom Henning Ovrebo, a psychologist from Norway.

“They have tried to put a bit of pressure on the referee for the game, but we know it's going to be a game that everyone wants to watch,” he said.

“The referee will have to be at his best.”

Hiddink admitted time is running out for several members of his side, who have lost three semi-finals and a final in the last five seasons.

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

“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.”

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