Chelsea banking on Barcelona fatigue

Chelsea banking on Barcelona fatigue

Chelsea is bracing for a Barcelona onslaught tomorrow as the wounded Catalans bid to recover from domestic disappointment by reaching its third Champions League final in four seasons.

The holders - stunned 1-0 by Chelsea in last week's semi-final first leg - completed a week to forget on Sunday when a 2-1 defeat to Real Madrid at Camp Nou effectively handed the domestic title to its bitter rival.

Chelsea will hope to exploit any lingering hangover from Sunday's traumatic loss to Real as it attempts to avenge its elimination to Barca at the same stage three years ago.

Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola refused to hit the panic button after the Real defeat, and was confident his players would be able to raise themselves for the visit of Chelsea.

Guardiola acknowledged however that Chelsea, who rested eight members of the side which started the first leg in Saturday's 0-0 draw with Arsenal, was likely to be the fresher of the two teams.

''They have managed to rest some players and we have not,'' Guardiola said. ''I have not been disappointed with our play in these two defeats and we'll forget them now.''


Chelsea, too, is unlikely to lose sight of the fact that they were comprehensively outplayed for much of the first leg.

Barcelona enjoyed 70 per cent possession, hit the woodwork twice and carved out three other exceptional scoring chances.

Chelsea's lone shot on target was Didier Drogba's first-half winner.

Chelsea coach Roberto Di Matteo was under no illusions about the task facing his side.

''It's going to be a high-intensity game, mentally as well, with pressure,'' Di Matteo said. ''Every player that's going to go on the pitch is at risk.'' AFP

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