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Chelsea FC go into the second leg of their tie against FC København with their tails up and "ready to fight" for honours. Carlo Ancelotti felt the 2-0 first-leg win in Denmark lit the touchpaper on a stuttering campaign, and the two victories which have followed, along with the impending return of long-term injury absentees Alex and Yossi Benayoun, have the Blues believing again.
Carlo Ancelotti, Chelsea manager
The first leg in Copenhagen was an important game for us. It was a turning point in our season and it gave us the confidence to go on and beat Manchester United; it was a big moment for us. We are ready to fight for the rest of the season now. This is a fantastic moment for us to have all the players fit and we want to maintain motivation for everyone.
Every game is important to maintain our confidence. We've had victories against København, Manchester United and Blackpool and our confidence is better and we want to maintain this and, if possible, improve. We want to continue this and make sure we progress to the Champions League quarter-finals. In the first game we played really well and we needed a high tempo to play against them. We have to stay focused because they will come here and want to do everything to win.
I think Barcelona are the best team in Europe at the moment. But in the Champions League you can use your strength, your power and your ability. Every team has different skills and ability, and every game is a different story. We don't have to forget that for us it will be very important to reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League.
Ståle Solbakken, København coach
We need a miracle or two. Obviously we are in a very, very difficult situation. We have not been at our best after the winter break and haven't managed to reach the level we had before Christmas. It's a little bit down to injuries, and a little bit down to some other things; most of all I think the first goal by [Nicolas] Anelka at Parken, because that knocked us back a bit mentally.
We didn't manage to break Chelsea down at all in the first game and now I think it's down to who scores the first goal. If we score it, it will change the psychology of the game. We have been in this situation once before, we beat Ajax 2-0 in Amsterdam so we are going for it.
We will play our normal game. For us it's the same if the goal comes when there's ten minutes left and we have ten minutes to score the second. We will try to be as compact and solid defensively as possible, but also be much better in some areas of the game. I want us to fight to the end, and if we go out of the tournament then we want to go out fighting.
Ancelotti said at the pre-match conference: "I am happy because all the players are fit: Alex came back to train today in good condition and is ready for the next game [on Sunday], Benayoun will come back to train maybe Thursday or Friday with the team, so every player is fit and in good condition." Alex (knee) has not played since November, while Benayoun tore an Achilles tendon in September. John Obi Mikel is within one booking of a suspension.
Solbakken will give Mikael Antonsson "all the chances in the world to be ready" as the defender looks to overcome a buttock injury that prevented him from playing at the weekend. His fitness will affect who replaces the suspended Zdeněk Pospěch at right-back, with Oscar Wendt and William Kvist in the frame. Dame N'Doye will miss his side's next European game if he receives another card.
Monday (7 March): Blackpool FC 1-3 Chelsea
(Puncheon 86; Terry 20, Lampard 63pen 66)
Chelsea did not play at the weekend as their ambitions of becoming the first team in 125 years to win three successive FA Cups ended with a penalty shoot-out defeat by Everton FC in the fourth round replay on 19 February. They were comfortable winners at Blackpool in their most recent Premier League fixture.
Saturday: Aalborg BK 0-1 København
Jos Hooiveld made his full debut as FCK claimed their first competitive victory of 2011 following 2-0 defeats by Chelsea and FC Midtjylland. That 6 March reverse ended København's unbeaten start to the Superliga season but their tally of 54 points after 21 games is a Danish top-flight record.
Did you know?
Chelsea have won the tie on all six occasions they recorded a first-leg away victory in UEFA competition, most recently against Liverpool FC in the 2008/09 UEFA Champions League quarter-finals (3-1 away, 4-4 home). Their sole 2-0 first-leg win on their travels came at MŠK Žilina in the third qualifying round of the 2003/04 competition, preceding a 3-0 Chelsea triumph at Stamford Bridge.
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