Ashley Cole has strongly disagreed with suggestions from Barcelona’s Dani Alves that Chelsea are afraid to attack against the reigning European champions, arguing that the controversial clash between the two sides in 2009 saw the Blues play at their best level.
In a thoroughly disrespectful interview ahead of tonight’s semifinal first leg at Stamford Bridge, Alves claimed that Chelsea lacked the nerve to attack confidently against Barca when leading 1-0 during the aforementioned match in May 2009.
Till this day, the Blues have rued the poor officiating of referee Tom Henning Ovrebo, who turned down at least two clear penalty claims.
But Brazil international Alves went as far as accusing Chelsea of using that as an excuse for their attacking limitations against the Spanish giants, who prevailed in that meeting on away goals thanks to Andres Iniesta’s stoppage time strike.
Yesterday, Didier Drogba calmed the tensions leading up to the match by insisting that the Blues will not treat Barca’s visit as a grudge match but Cole has no problems reminding the Catalans that they were lucky to progress on that fiesty night inside the Bridge nearly three years ago.
“At home (in 2009), we were unlucky, but with teams like Barcelona we try to think about our own game, we know how to stop them, but is it going to happen on that day? You never know,” Cole started off humbly in an interview at the club’s official website.
The left-back added: “With everything that went on in the game, with the so-called penalties that we should have had, and then to have that in the last minute, that was for me one of the best games I have seen a Chelsea team play, with fight, determination and spirit.
“Then of course, he (Iniesta) just pops up with a great strike. But that’s what they’ve got, that’s all they need, one shot.”
Indeed, the likes of Iniesta and more importantly, Lionel Messi, need very little room to disturb opposing defenses and given that Chelsea will be missing David Luiz tonight, Cole and the rest of the rearguard have their work cut out to minimize the likelihood of conceding a costly away goal.