Chelsea will be without defender David Luiz for their Champions League semi-final first leg against Barcelona.The Brazilian centre-half injured his hamstring during the FA Cup win over Tottenham at the weekend and has been ruled out for a fortnight.
Gary Cahill could start in his place while Branislav Ivanovic is available.
Barcelona defender Gerard Pique has been out with a thigh strain but is back in contention, while David Villa and Eric Abidal remain sidelined. The match is a repeat of the 2009 semi-final, which Barcelona won with a stoppage-time strike from Andres Iniesta.
“Chelsea were strong in 2009 and this year they will be very strong, dangerous and focused and playing at their ground, the atmosphere will multiply that.”
Barcelona could yet compete in an all-Spanish final if Real Madrid defeat Bayern Munich in the other semi-final. But Iniesta added: “All of our thinking and concentration should be on this game against Chelsea. If we think about anything else besides Chelsea, we’ll be making a big mistake.”
di Matteo Part one
Blues midfielder Frank Lampard was a member of the team that lost in 1999 and believes the London club must avoid having any players dismissed if they are to overcome their Spanish opponents. Chelsea have lost three of their 10 meetings with Barca since April 2000 – and have had a player sent off in each defeat.
di Matteo Part two
“Discipline is a huge fact at this level, to play a man down against Barcelona is very tough. We have to tackle and close space, but we’ve got a good discipline in our team. Keeping 11 on the pitch is crucial.”
The England midfielder is also advocating a high-tempo pressing game as Chelsea try to shut down their accomplished opponents. “I think it’s imperative to play a pressing game,” added Lampard. “There’s no way you can be passive against them, whether you push or defend deep.
We’ll have a game plan to attack them and it’s important to have a sense of urgency in your defenders. “If you give Xavi and Iniesta time they’ll hurt you. We have to pressure them in all areas of the pitch.”
Chelsea provisional squad:
Cech, Ivanovic, Bosingwa, Terry, Cahill, Cole, Mikel, Meireles, Lampard, Ramires, Mata, Malouda, Drogba, Torres, Sturridge, Kalou, Turnbull.Like what the TT have on offer? Sign up for more notifications!