Stopping Messi main concern for Chelsea
Monday 27 April 2009
Devising a strategy to thwart Barcelona forward Lionel Messi is Chelsea coach Guus Hiddink's main concern ahead of his side's Champions League semi-final first leg at the Nou Camp on Tuesday.
The Argentina international is the top scorer in this season's competition with eight goals and Chelsea's task of preventing him from adding to his tally has been complicated by the suspension of left back Ashley Cole.
Hiddink tried Portuguese defender Jose Bosingwa, who normally plays on the right, in Cole's spot in Saturday's 1-0 Premier League win over West Ham but said he was still weighing up his options.
"I could start crying about not having Cole in that position and also look for excuses," the former Real Madrid and Valencia boss said on Chelsea's website (www.chelseafc.com).
"I am not like that, I like to put the full energy and the confidence to (the player) who is substituting him in that position," the Dutchman added.
"Whoever is playing against Messi will have a tremendous job to do because he is the most productive player in the world and one of the players you like to watch, except when you play him."
Barca are the only non-English club left in the last four of Europe's top club competition for the second year in a row.
The 2006 champions lost 1-0 on aggregate to eventual winners Manchester United in last year's semi-finals thanks to a Paul Scholes strike early in the second leg in England.
With the exception of long-term injury absentee Gabriel Milito, coach Pep Guardiola has a full squad to choose from following the Primera Liga leaders' 2-2 draw at fourth-placed Valencia on Saturday.
"We have to rest and recover well because we are about to begin the most important week of the year," the former Barca and Spain midfielder said.
"I did not see any tiredness in the players," he added. "We are like a machine."
Midfielder Seydou Keita said the Barca players were well acquainted with their opponents and singled out Chelsea's physical presence as their main strength.
"The coach is doing some great work in preparing us for the match," the Mali international said at a news conference.
"He makes us watch a lot of the other team's games and we analyse their weak points and the dangers we could face."
Latest in Sport
Raheem Sterling to Manchester City: Uefa lift FFP restrictions to leave City primed for £100m moves for Paul Pogba and Liverpool midfielder
Sky Sports and BT Sport announce Premier League live matches for 2015/16 with Man United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool in action
Football kits 2015/16: The good, the bad and the downright worst new shirts from around the world for next season
Arturo Vidal to Real Madrid: Transfer news live - Sergio Ramos to Manchester United, Lukas Podolski to leave Arsenal
Chelsea 2015/16 home shirt leaked again as new picture appears online
- 1 Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
- 2 James Blunt was special guest on the highest-rating Top Gear episode ever
- 3 People all over the world are getting semicolon tattoos to draw attention to mental health
- 4 Van driver who comforted Clark Carlisle and called 999 after suicide attempt dies age 24
- 5 Baby rescued 1km out to sea after parents forgot about her
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Greece crisis: The wider lesson is that it’s time to abandon this failed experiment in currencies
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture