Roberto Di Matteo: Chelsea have the quality to shock Barça and reach Champions League final

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Chelsea manager confident of defending 1-0 lead against Barcelona at Nou Camp tonight


Roberto Di Matteo said last night that he believed his Chelsea team have the potential to win the Champions League this season, as they prepared to defend a one-goal lead tonight in the second leg of the semi-final against Barcelona in the Nou Camp.

The Chelsea caretaker manager has been reluctant to look beyond the next game during his team's unexpected run in the competition since he took over on 8 February, but he said that they had the capacity to confound the European champions. Di Matteo admitted that he felt his team would have to score again tonight if they were to have a chance of reaching the final on 13 May.

Di Matteo said: "I think we do have the qualities within this team. I think we need away from home, as we've seen in the past, a bit of luck to be able to do well in a competition like this. But certainly the quality and the squad we have at Chelsea is very good."

The big news for Barcelona was that Lionel Messi has recovered from what manager Pep Guardiola called a "gastric problem". The Argentine, who has scored 63 goals this season, missed training on Sunday but took part in the session at the Nou Camp last night. Gerard Pique is due to come back to the team after successive defeats for Barça in the first leg and against Real Madrid on Saturday.

Late in his press conference last night, Guardiola lost his patience with criticism from Spanish reporters about his selection of Cristian Tello and Thiago Alcantara in the defeat to Real. There had been particular scrutiny for Tello, 20, who was judged to be out of his depth in the 2-1 loss.

Before ending the press conference abruptly, Guardiola said: "Please, Cristian was the best player we had the other day. You can attack the veterans but not the young players. You attack Cristian? Analyse, don't criticise me. Most of the dangerous chances were created by Tello."

Di Matteo is expected to go with the same side the beat Barcelona six days ago. "Ultimately, Barcelona will create chances against every team they play against," he said. "We'll have to try and score a goal, for sure, but we must also limit the number of chances they can create against us."

Petr Cech, the Chelsea goalkeeper, said that his club were confident in the selection of the relatively inexperienced Turkish referee Cuneyt Cakir, who has only officiated in Uefa competitions for four seasons. It is the biggest match of Cuneyt's career so far and given the performance of Tom Henning Ovrebo in the semi-final between these two teams three years ago, there will be considerable focus on him.

Cech said: "The referee can be a big part of the game. You could see that in the past. There were great games between us and Barcelona but there was controversy which was a shame, overshadowing the great games on the pitch. We have an experienced Turkish referee. If you have experience of refereeing Galatasaray and Fenerbahce in the Turkish league, a game between Chelsea and Barcelona should be fine. The referee will have the same professional approach as we had in the first game, which was without controversy."

The issue of Didier Drogba's play-acting looms large over the game. Pique said he did not agree with the assessment of his former United team-mate Wayne Rooney, who was critical on Twitter of Drogba's tendency to go to ground during the first leg. The Barça defender claimed there was no doubt in his mind Drogba would only go down if injured, although his comments had the effect of once again highlighting the issue.

"Everyone plays the way they see fit," said Pique. "I don't know if Drogba was faking injuries. I don't think we can criticise him for that, I believe in Drogba and in his honesty. I believe that every time he fell down, it was because he was in pain. I don't think Drogba was trying to fake it or dive.

"I've faced him many times. The last I can remember was in 2009 and he's one of the best strikers I have ever seen. He's playing at a great level once again. It's not easy to score goals for so many years."

Pique prompted suggestions that he would be offered some advice from another former United team-mate when he said he had been contacted by Rio Ferdinand. "He sent me a message today telling me that he wants to talk to me."

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
The cast of The Big Bang Theory in a still from the show
tvBig Bang Theory filming delayed by contract dispute over actors' pay
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
Robyn Lawley
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
i100  ... he was into holy war way before it was on trend
Life and Style
lifeDon't get caught up on climaxing
Life and Style
food + drinkVegetarians enjoy food as much as anyone else, writes Susan Elkin
Arts and Entertainment
Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe), Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) and Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint)
newsBloomsbury unveils new covers for JK Rowling's wizarding series
scienceScientists try to explain the moon's funny shape
Usain Bolt confirms he will run in both the heats and the finals of the men's relay at the Commonwealth Games
commonwealth games
peopleHowards' Way actress, and former mistress of Jeffrey Archer, was 60
Life and Style
Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson voice the show’s heroes
gamingOnce stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover
Arts and Entertainment
As Loki in The Avengers (2012)
filmRead Tom Hiddleston's email to Joss Whedon on prospect of playing Loki
voices In defence of the charcoal-furred feline, by Felicity Morse
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star