Chelsea will look to stretch their impressive sequence of opening day victories to six, when they entertain Porto in tonight’s Group D encounter.
Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti, who, according to some observers, has been brought to the club with the express aim of winning the Champions League, acknowledged that the club has the pedigree to do well in Europe this season.
“We know Porto well; they have good quality, their forwards are very quick and we must pay attention,” said Ancelotti. “Porto like to play football so tomorrow we will see a very good game.
“Chelsea have got to the semi-final five times in six years and it’s not easy to achieve those results. To win is not easy because the Champions League is a very important competition. We have a very strong team with fantastic players and a fantastic mental attitude. We can win but we have to think match by match.
“I don’t think there’s a psychological problem [with winning the Champions League]; Chelsea have been close to winning and haven’t but, I repeat, there’s a real possibility we can do very well this season. The first objective should be to reach the final, not to win. We want to get there; it’s not easy, but I think we have a possibility to do this.
Chelsea will be without the injured quartet of Joe Cole, Yuri Zhirkov, Alex and Deco. Suspended for the game are Jose Bosingwa and Didier Drogba who begin two and three-match bans.
Porto coach Jesualdo Ferreira said that he had spent the past two months preparing his players for the rigours of a European campaign.
“Losing players is a cycle every team goes through,” said Ferreira. “Last year was different but for the last two years we have been working very hard to get where we want to be. We have spent the last two months preparing and incorporating new players to be ready for this game. This team is ready and I’m sure we can achieve different things.
“Ever since the draw was made we’ve known Chelsea are one of the strongest sides in the English league. They are very mature and experienced and have been playing together for a long time. This is our most difficult game of the group phase.
“I don’t know why we can’t beat English teams [having failed to win in 12 attempts in England]; I hope this will change under my management, but I don’t have an explanation. I can’t say why and hopefully the situation will change soon.