Last 16, second leg, kick-off: 19:45 (BST)
Chelsea (2) v FC Copenhagen (0)
Chelsea go into the second leg of their tie against FC Copenhagen in god form and “ready to fight” for honours, according to coach Carlo Ancelotti.
The Italian felt the 2-0 first-leg win in Denmark has kick-started a stuttering campaign, and the two victories which have followed, along with the impending return of long-term injury absentees Alex and Yossi Benayoun, have convinced him that success is on its way.
“The first leg in Copenhagen was an important game for us,” said Ancelotti. “It was a turning point in our season and it gave us the confidence to go on and beat Manchester United; it was a big moment for us. We are ready to fight for the rest of the season now. This is a fantastic moment for us to have all the players fit and we want to maintain motivation for everyone.
“Every game is important to maintain our confidence. We’ve had victories against Copenhagen, Manchester United and Blackpool and our confidence is better and we want to maintain this and, if possible, improve. We want to continue this and make sure we progress to the Champions League quarter-finals. In the first game we played really well and we needed a high tempo to play against them. We have to stay focused because they will come here and want to do everything to win.
“I think Barcelona are the best team in Europe at the moment. But in the Champions League you can use your strength, your power and your ability. Every team has different skills and ability, and every game is a different story. We don’t have to forget that for us it will be very important to reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League.”
Copenhagen coach Stale Solbakken admitted that the defeat at home has left his side looking at a miracle if they are to progress to the quarter-finals.
“We need a miracle or two,” he said. “Obviously we are in a very, very difficult situation. We have not been at our best after the winter break and haven’t managed to reach the level we had before Christmas. It’s a little bit down to injuries, and a little bit down to some other things; most of all I think the first goal by [Nicolas] Anelka at Parken, because that knocked us back a bit mentally.
“We didn’t manage to break Chelsea down at all in the first game and now I think it’s down to who scores the first goal. If we score it, it will change the psychology of the game. We have been in this situation once before, we beat Ajax 2-0 in Amsterdam so we are going for it.
“We will play our normal game. For us it’s the same if the goal comes when there’s ten minutes left and we have ten minutes to score the second. We will try to be as compact and solid defensively as possible, but also be much better in some areas of the game. I want us to fight to the end, and if we go out of the tournament then we want to go out fighting.
Solbakken will give Mikael Antonsson “all the chances in the world to be ready” as the defender looks to overcome an injury that prevented him from playing at the weekend. His availability will affect who replaces the suspended Zdenek Pospech at right-back, with Oscar Wendt and William Kvist in the frame.