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Frank Lampard is out for Champions League revenge and is backing Chelsea to make it to the final
Frank Lampard believes Chelsea have “unfinished business” with Barcelona and can prevail against the European champions after a tense victory against Benfica secured their sixth Champions League semi-final in nine years.
England’s final representative in Europe will welcome Pep Guardiola’s side to west London in two weeks’ time hoping to avenge their elimination courtesy of AndrÃ©s Iniesta’s away goal at the same stage in 2009. The sides have been regular opponents in recent years, though memories linger of that controversial occasion, which ended with the home side bemoaning the erratic performance of the Norwegian referee Tom Henning Ovrebo.
“Everyone’s got unfinished business with Barcelona,” said Lampard, who scored Chelsea’s opening goal. “They’re the greatest team in the world. They have been and still are. But that game [from three years ago] is still in our minds, but this is a different year and we have to try to beat them. They’ll be favourites but we’ve got belief. We know we’ll have to perform to our best to beat them, but we believe we can do it.”
The interim first-team coach, Roberto Di Matteo, said: “Barcelona are probably one of the best teams, if not the best team, in the world and they have some wonderful players,” said the interim first-team coach, Roberto di Matteo. “. It will be exciting to play two games against them, and we will have to find a strategy that will suit our players and our team against them. We have to be aware of their threat but play to our own strengths. We’ve faced them a lot of times over the years and a lot of our players have some history against Barcelona. Certainly they felt a bit hard done by when we played them the last time, three years ago.”
Chelsea will assess John Terry’s fitness on Thursday morning, after the captain was forced off early and struggling for breath amid fears he had fractured two ribs. The centre-back, who aggravated the injury sustained in last week’s first leg in Portugal, will undergo a scan and, regardless of the result, is likely to be rested for Saturday’s visit of Wigan, with one eye on the cluttered fixture list to come. His side had struggled to resist a Benfica team reduced to 10 men after only 40 minutes following Maxi Pereira’s dismissal, eventually prevailing 2-1 with a goal in stoppage time.
“Over the two games we proved we were much the better team and I can’t understand how we’re out,” said the Benfica coach, Jorge Jesus. “What hurts me is that we’ve knocked out better teams than this Chelsea side. We played with 10 men for the best part of an hour and made Chelsea look ordinary, and we were penalised by the referee. Unjustly. I may be wrong, but I believe Chelsea have no chance against Barcelona.”
The former Chelsea manager JosÃ© Mourinho welcomed confirmation of the English club’s progress into the last four where his Real Madrid side, 5-2 conquerors of Apoel Nicosia on Wednesday night for an 8-2 aggregate win, will play Bayern Munich.
The Portuguese stated BarÃ§a would be “super favourites” but also hinted dark forces would be at work by suggesting there is little chance of Real meeting the London club in the final. “Let me be honest, I don’t think the final will be a Real Madrid against Chelsea final,” he said. “It could be Bayern or Barcelona. I just don’t think it will be Real Madrid versus Chelsea, and we know why.”