First Knockout round – 2nd leg (First leg: Olympiakos 0-0 Chelsea)
Chelsea coach Avram Grant believes it would be a mistake to underestimate the threat posed by Olympiakos when the sides resume their Champions League first knockout round tie after a goalless first leg.
Nevertheless, Chelsea are favoured to progress and claim a quarter-final berth for the fourth time in five seasons.
“We are a big club and we want to be bigger, we want to get to the Champions League final because we have not been there before,” said Grant.
“It’s not easy because there are many good clubs trying for the same thing but that is our target. It is the priority of this club and also of me. Our players have experience of this stage, though we know it will be a tough game.
“Olympiakos have won at Werder Bremen and also at Lazio [this season], two very good teams. But we are at home so we want to win.”
The Israeli acknowldges that he will disappoint some players and will give plenty of thought to his starting eleven after being criticised for the changes he made before the recent Carling Cup final loss to Tottenham Hotspur.
“I can only pick eleven so there will be big players on the bench and also big players who are not in the squad,” he added. “There is a lot of pressure in football and I welcome that because it pushes you always to achieve the best things. The results over the last four or five months should give us confidence, not just the win at West Ham. When we lose we respond and that was shown again on Saturday.”
Olympiakos know a scoring draw will be enough to take them through to the quarter-finals for the second time and they have no intention of sitting back and soaking up the pressure at Stamford Bridge.
“Our defence has played a major role in this competition and we are hoping the same applies and that it will give us opportunities to attack as well,” said coach Panagiotis Lemonis.
However, Lemonis’s attacking options have dwindled as a result of injuries to Luciano Galletti and Lomana LuaLua.
“We have responded in the past and I am hoping we can do so again,” he said. “The first few minutes will be important as Chelsea try to control the pace of the game but I’m confident we can cope with that.”