As Chelsea are gearing up for the second leg of their Champions League semi-final against Barcelona tonight (April 24), their players and manager are sending out waves of confidence in the hopes of stirring their Camp Nou rivals.
Chelsea defeated Barcelona 1 – 0 in the first leg of their semi-final at Stamford Bridge, a surprise victory that will have shaken the heavily favourited Spaniards. Although Barcelona remain the favourites heading into their rematch at Barca's home stadium Camp Nou, Chelsea players have spoken of their belief that they will yet again upset their rivals. Striker Fernando Torres said: "It is clear that Barcelona are a step ahead of all other clubs as they have reached the last five semi-finals, but this is football: the best team doesn't always win."
"Many teams who play Barcelona think that you have to steal the ball from them, but I don't think that's possible," he added. "You have to use different weapons against them. If you want to steal the ball, you won't manage it and you'll get tired, and then create more space for your opponent."
Interim Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo was also confident of his squad's chances, saying: I think we do have the qualities within this team. I think we need away from home, as we've seen in the past, a bit of luck to be able to do well in a competition like this. But certainly the quality and the squad we have at Chelsea is very good."
However, he also recognised that Barcelona held the most possession and created the most chances in the first leg, adding: "Barcelona will create chances against every team they play against. We'll have to try and score a goal, for sure, but we must also limit the number of chances they can create against us."
Di Matteo is expected to play the same team he utilised in the first leg and will push for a goal, despite Chelsea needing just a draw in order to advance to the finals, where they will then face either Bayern or Real Madrid for the trophy.
The biggest news for Barcelona is that Lionel Messi has fully recovered from a "gastric problem" that threatened to take him out of tonight's game, but with Messi and the club still reeling from their El Clasico defeat to Real Madrid in the Spanish League, Chelsea may be able to capitalise on Barca's ailing confidence – or, as Chelsea's Raul Meireles points out, it could inspire Pep Guardiola's team to fight harder: "Barcelona's defeat against Real Madrid could have some effect on the game on Tuesday," said the midfielder. "But it's a double-edged sword because after practically losing the league, their challenge is Europe and they will come out with even more motivation.
"The game at Camp Nou is a final for us. It's not easy to knock out Barcelona but first blood went to us and now we will have to play even more perfectly on Tuesday."