Chelsea manager Guus Hiddink was full of praise for John Terry last night after the Blues managed to hold Barcelona to a goalless draw in Spain.
Hiddink’s men, including Terry, soaked up sustained pressure from the Spanish club during the game and defended well to prevent conceding what could have been an important goal.
Chelsea will now travel back to England knowing that a victory of any kind at Stamford Bridge when the sides meet again will be enough to take them through to the Champions League final.
The fact that Barcelona didn’t score on home soil is rather significant as it was the first time they have failed to do so in all competitions this season. According to Hiddink, this was in no small part down to the performance of Terry.
The Chelsea boss singled out the England captain during his press conference after the game by saying that he was ‘inspiring’ and an
‘example to the rest of the team’.
As for the performance overall, Hiddink was very pleased. The Dutchman said that his team played ‘courageously’ and with a ‘lot of
intelligence’. He then went on to say that the result is a ‘compliment to the team’ because it was achieved in very ‘difficult circumstances’.
It is true that this was a decent enough result and one that Chelsea would have settled for before the game. However, it is far from job done. In fact, it would have been better if Chelsea were all over the show at the back and played their part in a 3-3 draw!
This is because Chelsea have missed the chance to get an away goal, meaning that one strike for Barcelona at Stamford Bridge would mean that Chelsea need two. The game is still very much in the balance, that’s for sure.
It’s a safe football bet that it will be a very different game next week though. Chelsea will be far more positive and will take the game to Barcelona. It will be interesting to see how the Spanish club handle it.
One thing is for sure though – it should be a cracker. Chelsea are one home win away from a second Champions League final in a row and everyone connected with the club will be happy with this situation.
Something else which could prove significant is that Barcelona take on Real Madrid this weekend in a game that could take a lot out of them. They might even pick up an injury or two. Arjen Robben to go in heavily on Lionel Messi anyone?
By Thomas Rooney