Quarter-final second leg (First leg: Fenerbahce 2-1 Chelsea)
Chelsea coach Avram Grant promises that tonight’s Champions League quarter-final second leg against Fenerbahce will be different from last week’s game in Istanbul, where the London side threw away a 1-0 lead to go down 2-1 to the Turkish outfit.
His team welcome the Turkish champions to Stamford Bridge knowing they have prevailed on the three previous occasions they have played a quarter-final of this competition in the last five seasons.
“Of course I have thought about the game in Istanbul,” said Grant. “I don’t think any game is the same as the last one and [Tuesday] will be a different game.
“In Istanbul it was a good performance but the worst result, so obviously we don’t want it to be the same. These things happen in football, especially when you dominate the game and your concentration is affected.
“The only thing I would say is that we have learned from our mistakes. We want to dominate this game, which won’t be easy, and then we want to stay concentrated for the whole game. Our target is to reach the semi-finals and we will do everything to reach it. It’s a big opportunity for us.”
Other than goalkeeper Petr Cech, who misses out after suffering a training ground injury that required facial surgery, Grant has a full squad to choose from.
Despite the deficit, Chelsea’s supporters will be expecting to see their side see off the threat of a Fenerbahce side who have not fared well on their travels this season.
Fener coach Zico can include defender Gokhan Gonul again after suspension but is likely to stick with Gokcek Vederson at left-back as Roberto Carlos is still not 100 per cent fit following a thigh injury. Claudio Maldonado complained of flu symptoms on Monday and did not train but it is hoped he will be available.
Zico says the fact his team hold the lead will not affect the way they approach the match.
“We will play the way we always play,” he said, “and that’s to attack. It’s the reason we are here. Every single minute, every second, will be important. We have to be careful and take our advantages in the good spells we will have.”
Zico, who exuded a calm authority under questioning, even took a dig at Chelsea manager Avram Grant’s selection policy.
“Chelsea have an excellent squad but sometimes players are not comfortable because of the position they are put in. I’m sure they can overcome that so we will have to be at our best,” he said.