Chelsea FC captain John Terry spoke with immense pride, and a noticeable amount of future ambition, as he savoured his team's victory at the Mestalla Stadium which eliminated Valencia CF and took the visitors into the UEFA Champions League semi-finals.
'Never say die'
Terry had been next to faultless but found time to praise several other colleagues and to underline, once again, that sometimes spirit and desire can be as important as talent and home advantage. "Winning here and scoring so late in the match has shown again that we have no fear in this team and that we will never say die in any situation," said the centre-back, after his side had become the first English club to prevail at the home of Valencia.
'Fresh, fit and hungry'
Chelsea looked to be up against it when Fernando Morientes fired Valencia into a 32nd-minute lead, but second-half strikes from Andriy Shevchenko and, in the final minute of normal time, Michael Essien turned the tie on its head and left Terry full of compliments for the efforts of his team-mates. "We fought to the end and it tells you a lot about this Chelsea squad that two players who have just come back from injury turned the game. Joe Cole and Michael Essien have been missing for a few games but they came back fresh, fit and hungry. Joe really changed the game when he came on at half-time and we switched to 4-3-3, and all the players showed we will always fight to the last minute of every match."
Genius on call
Terry pinpointed the half-time assessment of manager José Mourinho as crucial to his team's revival, explaining: "The manager wasn't happy at half-time, rightly so, and told us that in clear terms. He had warned us not to panic if we went a goal down but he was not pleased with the level of the performance. It's lucky we have genius to call on within the squad because we turned the game around and earned the victory. This is a competition many of us have a special desire to win. We have been together for a while as a group and have won a lot of trophies but we really want to win the Champions League."
Irrespective of who lies in wait in the last four, Terry promises his side will be harder to beat than ever, although the Chelsea captain's personal preference is to face Liverpool FC, who eliminated Mourinho's men in the 2005 semi-finals. "You can't pick and choose your opponents and, in the end, it will always be about our own performance rather than who we face. But it was a terrible disappointment to lose to Liverpool in the semi-final a couple of seasons ago and this would give us the chance to wash away those bad memories."
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