Chelsea manager Avram Grant was delighted with the his team after they easily overcame Greek champions Olympiakos 3-0 at Stamford Bridge to reach the Champions League quarter-finals.
“I’m happy we won, we’re in the next round and we played good football,” said Grant. “Olympiakos always score away – they scored more than one goal in the games against Werder Bremen, Real Madrid and Lazio so we knew that they were a very dangerous team.
“We were very mature, we held the ball most of the time, we were quick when we needed to be and I’m happy because for me it was clever football. I don’t see any team in the quarter-final that isn’t a good team – any game will be very tough but we want to win.
“We came from a tough group where two from the group, Schalke and us, are in the quarter-finals so it doesn’t matter who we get – any game will be difficult. As I said I’m confident about my team but I could not think before what the result would be – it’s not my way.
“But from day one with the team I’ve had full confidence, even if most people didn’t believe we’d have a good year. But so far it’s a good development. We know that it [the League Cup final defeat by Tottenham Hotspur] was a bad day. Since then we have shown character, a good attitude, and that’s important.
“Any game Carlo [Cudicini] has played this year he has been very good, so was Hilario when we needed him. I’m very pleased with the performance of the team, we played like a team and it was very good. If we continue like this, keeping clean sheets, then anything can happen.”
Visiting coach Panagiotis Lemonis was philosophical about the result and said he would now turn his attention to ensuring that Olympiakos qualified for next season’s Champions League.
“The first 20 minutes were very important and, after going 2-0 down, we couldn’t respond but we played against a very experienced team,” he said. “This was a very difficult game.
“Our aims are very clear now; we have no more European matches so we now we concentrate on returning to the Champions League. We must now try to improve. There is a big difference between us and Chelsea and our aim is to get closer to these strong teams.
“It is a very competitive event and this is just the start. Obviously to be satisfied we would like the championship, the cup and the Champions League – as a team we do want everything. We have made a lot of changes since the summer, but the future looks bright for Olympiakos.
“We all know Fernando Belluschi has gone two months without playing so his level was obviously where we expected it. But we have him for another four years and we are very pleased with the way he responded tonight.”