Chelsea manager Avram Grant admitted that his side rode their luck before reaching the semi-finals of the Champions League.
The 2-0 win over Fenerbahce, and 3-2 aggregate win, has earned another tie against Liverpool – the third time the sides have met at this stage of the competition in the past four seasons.
“I feel good because our target was to be in the semi-final of the Champions League and we did it,” said Grant.
“It was not very easy, and I know that in Fenerbahçe we played much better than today. We started well, then it was a little bit of a nervous game but we defended well as they didn’t create many chances. But most important was the result, and the result was good for us.
“I feel this year I am more a doctor than a manager. I have to answer almost every week about injuries, but Hilário was good today and that’s very important. When you need the third goalkeeper, and we have needed him this year, he has always done a very good job. It’s not easy when you lose a goalkeeper.
“The news [on Carlo Cudicini, who limped off the pitch with a hamstring strain] is that it doesn’t look so good for the moment but we will have to wait and see. [Michael Essien] will miss the next game [suspended], it’s not good but it’s a fact and we can’t do anything about it.”
Chelsea now face Liverpool again with Grant looking to avenge the semi-final defeats inflicted by Rafa Benitez’s side in 2005 and 2007.
“This is the first news they told me, that it was Liverpool in the semi-finals,” added Grant.
“The one thing I always want to know is the future. I don’t know the future but we will do our best to be in the final.
“I feel good because our target was to be in the semi-final of the Champions League and we did it.
“I said that we could do good things this year. Now we are close. So of course I am optimistic and I believe.”
Grant’s opposite number, Zico, said that conceding an early goal to Michael Ballack changed the course of the game but has vowed to build on his club’s best-ever European run.
“Obviously we are not happy because we are not satisfied with not achieving things,” said the Brazilian.
“We conceded early in the game and after falling behind we tried to get the goal back. We couldn’t say we are happy to get this far, because we are disappointed.
“The players showed enthusiasm, discipline and great character, but in the end we are very sorry we cannot continue this journey. The team that started was the one I believed in but obviously we had to make changes as the game progressed. We noticed Chelsea dropping deeper and we had to make the tactical changes to give us more attacking power.
“We conceded very early and although we knew Chelsea were good with set-pieces and crosses, it was a free header from Ballack. Conceding the goal changed the way the game could go.
“The one thing we must not forget is that, in order to play in the Champions League next year, we have to be top of our league. This year’s games were good experience for us and if you look at all the teams playing in the Champions League, such as Chelsea, Manchester United and Barcelona, it can only do our game good to be playing against them.”