Nou Camp holds no fear for us, insists Cech
Published 14:22 19/04/12 By MirrorFootball
Petr Cech insisted the Nou Camp holds no fear for Chelsea after helping them beat Barcelona to take a crucial lead into Tuesday's Champions League semi-final second leg.
The Blues were today still basking in their statistics-busting 1-0 win in last night's first leg at Stamford Bridge, which saw goalkeeper Cech produce one of his best performances of the season to keep Barca at bay.
Chelsea once again proved the world and European champions' nemesis, as Barca have now failed to beat the Londoners in their last six meetings.
That includes three score draws at the Nou Camp, where Barcelona boast a terrifying record of 27 wins and no defeats in 30 games this season, with 104 goals scored and 16 conceded.
That would be enough to intimidate any side, but not Chelsea, who proved last night they were capable of defying almost every attacking statistic going.
Cech said: "We've done well in the past there and need to reproduce the same kind of performance that we did and like we have before.
"It will be really important to score an away goal as well but we seem always to score there and, hopefully, we can replicate that."
Chelsea will need even more defensive discipline on Tuesday on a pitch much bigger than their own, as well as the same luck they have enjoyed in spades of late, and the kind of wasteful finishing Barca conspired to produce last night.
Cech added: "This performance was all about the focus and concentration, to stay disciplined all the time and not give them space, even though you could run for three minutes and not see the ball.
"We had to fight from the first to the last minute. We've done the maximum we could do against such a great side.
"We've had some good results against them in the past and used that experience again.
"We made it really tight, but will have to play the same way in the second leg."
Caretaker manager Roberto Di Matteo, whose tactical masterplans are fast making an irresistible case for him to be handed the job full-time, will almost certainly want to start with the same XI in Spain as he did last night.
The so-called old guard once again demonstrated they had more to give, with matchwinner Didier Drogba proving he may just be impossible to replace if Chelsea do not cave in to his contract demands before his deal expires this summer.
The 34-year-old was both at his bullying best and theatrical worst last night, showing he could still play twice in four days after Sunday's FA Cup semi-final thrashing of Tottenham.
Drogba said: "I just love the game. I love playing.
"Every time I have a chance to perform, I know that I am lucky to be on this kind of pitch like Wembley, Stamford Bridge because so many players wanted to become professional.
"So many didn't have a professional career, so I try to enjoy them mostly. I'm really happy when I'm on the pitch."
Drogba, whose celebrations last night were in stark contrast to his wild-eyed and foul-mouthed tirade against the referee the last time the clubs met, added: "We didn't have anything to prove against Barcelona, we just played to qualify.
"We won the first leg, there is another one coming and we will be up for it."
Before that, both sides face games on Saturday that may define their league seasons, with Barca taking on arch-rivals Real Madrid in what could be a La Liga title decider, and Chelsea travelling to Arsenal for a match that will have a huge bearing on their hopes of finishing in the Barclays Premier League top four.
Di Matteo has confirmed he will make changes, one of which will almost certainly see Fernando Torres recalled.
Cech said: "We have almost everybody fit so we can rotate the team.
"It is a massive game for us against Arsenal because we need to reach the Champions League spot.
"It is always hard to manage everything around, but Barca have the 'Clasico' as well, so maybe there is the advantage in that we have a massive game, they have a massive game and we both have to manage that.
"Who's going to do it better? Let's see."