Hiddink: we've got to put the breaks on Barcelona
Chelsea manager Guus Hiddink has adopted a gung-ho attitude ahead of tonight's Champions League semi-final first leg at the Nou Camp against Barcelona. The wily Dutchman has called on his players to take the initiative and to try and get a crucial away goal.
"We know we are facing maybe the best team in the world at the moment, and a team with a very attractive style, but we've got to put the brakes on them and take the initiative," Hiddink told reporters. "If we just wait and get scared by the actions of whoever – their strikers, or one or two of their midfield players – we lose this game. We have to take the initiative and try, as we did in Liverpool, to score our own goals."
While Chelsea got the upper hand in their quarter final first leg against Liverpool, Hiddink acknowledged that the Catalan side will provide tougher opposition. "No disrespect to Liverpool, who are a big team as well, but Barcelona have many, many players who can make a difference. Liverpool have Steven Gerrard, Fernando Torres and Dirk Kuyt who can make the important decisions – the last pass or to score – but Barcelona have several players who can do that so it will be even more difficult."
Hiddink continued: "My team have to show they have the guts to try to play and not just wait until they are beaten. We've said that in our team meeting. We have to have the courage to play. Chelsea are not a side who can sit back and wait to play on the counter. We are a team that must play courageously."
Ashley Cole is set to miss the match through suspension meaning that Portugal fullback Jose Bosingwa will switch to the left and have the task of trying to shackle Argentina forward Lionel Messi. Ghana captain Michael Essien was instrumental in Chelsea's victory over Liverpool, and the powerful midfielder will again be crucial tonight if the Blues have any chance of getting a result.