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Ramires focus fixed on Benfica challenge

Published: Tuesday 3 April 2012, 21.30CET
Ramires has stressed the importance of focus as Chelsea FC strive to reach their sixth UEFA Champions League semi-final in nine years at the expense of his former club SL Benfica.
by Jamie Reid
from Stamford Bridge
Ramires focus fixed on Benfica challenge
Ramires is preparing for another encounter against former side Benfica ©Getty Images

Tournament statistics

ChelseaBenfica

Goals scored25
 
13
Attempts on target82
 
59
Attempts off target86
 
71
Corners52
 
56
Offsides34
 
14
Fouls committed183
 
145
Yellow cards31
 
27
Red cards1
 
2
 
Published: Tuesday 3 April 2012, 21.30CET

Ramires focus fixed on Benfica challenge

Ramires has stressed the importance of focus as Chelsea FC strive to reach their sixth UEFA Champions League semi-final in nine years at the expense of his former club SL Benfica.

Ramires has stressed that Chelsea FC need to keep their concentration if they are to progress to their sixth UEFA Champions League semi-final in nine years at the expense of SL Benfica.

We've got an advantage but we have a tough 90 minutes in front of us and are facing a serious challenge. When you face Benfica you always expect a tough game
Ramires, Chelsea midfielder
I've never had the opportunity to play against a side I've played for before so [the first leg] was a strange feeling
Ramires, Chelsea midfielder

Roberto Di Matteo's side go into Wednesday night's encounter defending a 1-0 first-leg lead but as he addressed a packed press conference at Stamford Bridge midfielder Ramires, who signed for Chelsea from the Lisbon side in summer 2010, was keen to emphasise that the tie is far from over.

"It's definitely going to be a difficult game," he said. "We've got an advantage but we have a tough 90 minutes in front of us and are facing a serious challenge. When you face Benfica you always expect a tough game. They are going to come out motivated and will do everything to win despite their disadvantage; I'm sure they are going to do everything they can to stop us."

The 25-year-old spent a successful season at the Estádio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica in 2009/10, scoring four times in his 26 Portuguese Liga appearances. Although keen to point out his gratitude to the club that gave him his debut in European football, Ramires emphasised any emotions will be far from his mind when he takes to the Stamford Bridge pitch aiming to help his current side reach the last four.

"The Benfica fans showed me a lot of affection for me during my stay there and also in the first leg," said the Brazilian international. "I've never had the opportunity to play against a side I've played for before so [the first leg] was a strange feeling. But I'm a Chelsea player and I'm going to do everything I can to help us beat Benfica."

The Blues, who boast a 100% home record in this season's UEFA Champions League, could face a possible repeatof their 2009 semi-final against FC Barcelona should the reigning champions overcome AC Milan in their own quarter-final tie. However, Ramires insisted that the west London club are looking no further than Wednesday night, with any thoughts of the semi-finals on hold until Benfica have been eliminated.

"There's been a lot of talk already about Barcelona but we players don't look that far ahead," he added. "We concentrate on every game as it comes. We don't talk about anything else in the changing room. I'm sure there will be a lot of talk after the game if we manage to progress, but for now we must concentrate on the task of winning our tie. The focus is solely on this game."

Last updated: 03/04/12 21.50CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/season=2012/matches/round=2000265/match=2007685/prematch/focus/index.html#ramires+focused+benfica

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