Ramires: we have restored respect


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The Independent Online

The Chelsea midfielder Ramires said last night that the team had regained its "respect" after the departure of manager Andre Villas-Boas, as they prepare to reach the club's sixth Champions League semi-final in nine years in tonight's quarter-final second leg against Benfica.

If Chelsea progress they will have the chance of revenge over holders Barcelona, who knocked them out in the last four in 2009 and reached the semi-finals last night with a 3-1 win over Milan at the Nou Camp.

Ramires, whose side lead 1-0 from the first leg in Lisbon, was regarded as one of those players in the Villas-Boas camp but conceded that the dismissal of the young Portuguese coach in February and the temporary appointment of Roberto Di Matteo had changed the club. Ramires, who joined Chelsea from Benfica for £18m in 2010, said that the team was more confident.

He said: "We went through a tough period but have taken strength from this change in the coach. We have found new confidence and feel more respect in ourselves. We began to realise we are a great team and have built from our victory in Roberto's first game."

The midfielder is expected to start in a Chelsea team that could also include striker Fernando Torres over Didier Drogba, who trained yesterday. Raul Meireles is also back in contention after passing a fitness test.

On Torres, Di Matteo said: "Everybody was happy that he scored that goal [against Aston Villa on Saturday]. The happiness was for the player but also for the team for finishing the game."

The Chelsea caretaker manager said that the 1-0 lead from the first leg was "a dangerous result". "This is half-time and we're leading 1-0, which is basically nothing. Nothing has been done yet."

Jorge Jesus, the Benfica coach, said: "Chelsea have the upper hand, but they had quite a lot of luck in that first match, considering we dominated the match.

"We have the quality to win and I'm sure we can turn the tables on them."