Barça's complaints after first leg were not excuses, claims Sylvinho

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The Independent Football

The former Arsenal defender Sylvinho has rebuked Chelsea manager Guus Hiddink over his claims that Barcelona's complaints following last week's goalless draw in the Nou Camp came from frustration.

Barcelona players and management were furious with Chelsea's spoiling tactics in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final, accusing the visitors of kicking them off the pitch.

Hiddink responded by suggesting the moans were a case of sour grapes that the hosts were unable to turn their greater possession into goals. But Sylvinho, who is set to return to a makeshift Barcelona defence at Stamford Bridge tonight, said Hiddink had it all wrong.

"We deserved to win 1-0 at least," he said. "But we didn't complain just because we didn't score. It is not an excuse.

"They have a different style of play. Chelsea are a team with their own style of play. They play to their strengths, which is to be very physical. The physical side of their game amazes me. It is very impressive. It comes from playing week in, week out in the Premier League. They will have to come at us a bit more because the crowd will be calling for it. Whoever plays for us is really going to be up for it."

Thierry Henry is struggling with a knee injury, so Andres Iniesta may be pressed into attack, with Seydou Keita coming into midfield.

Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola also has to decide how to patch up his defence without the injured Rafael Marquez and the suspended Carles Puyol. The likely option is to put Eric Abidal in the middle and recall the 35-year-old Sylvinho.