José Mourinho believes Chelsea FC's UEFA Champions League semi-final with Club Atlético de Madrid could not be more closely balanced as they begin Wednesday's Stamford Bridge second leg at 0-0.
Mourinho is missing the banned Frank Lampard and John Obi Mikel, but injured quartet Eden Hazard, Samuel Eto'o, John Terry and, most surprisingly, Petr Čech all trained on Tuesday. The presence of any of them would be a huge boost against an Atlético side "excited and keen" according to Diego Simeone despite captain Gabi's ban.
Will miss final if booked
• Chelsea: Willian, David Luiz
• Atlético: Emiliano Insúa, Koke, Juanfran
José Mourinho, manager
They are a good side. They are not a counterattacking side. They are a good side. They defend well. They score goals. They win matches! They are in the semi-finals of the Champions League and need two victories to be Spanish champions.
Atlético were my direct rivals for three seasons but I always felt a relationship of respect with the club. I have respect for what they are doing because to be in a Champions League semi-final is not for every club, and to have the possibility of winning the league against Barcelona and Real Madrid is something that deserves my respect.
It is a knockout game, a game of details, a game where maybe one goal is the difference. It is a game where everybody needs to be at the top level. For the 90 minutes the players are more important than the manager, I trust them a lot and that helps me to be calm.
Against Paris we were in a position where we had nothing to lose and no one really expecting us to turn the result around. At the moment, it is a 'clean' result, it is 0-0 and the chances are equal. We are at home but a score draw is good for them and not for us; you cannot say who has the advantage.
Sunday: Liverpool FC 0-2 Chelsea (Ba 45+3, Willian 90+4)
Schwarzer; Azpilicueta, Ivanović, Kalas, Cole; Mikel, Matić, Lampard; Salah (Willian 60), Ba (Torres 84), Schürrle (Cahill 77).
• Chelsea closed to within two points of Premier League leaders Liverpool thanks to victory at Anfield where the Blues defended as staunchly as in the first leg in Madrid.
Asked if Terry, who injured his ankle in the first leg, will start, Mourinho said: "Of course," while the captain himself added: "I wouldn't put the team at any risk but I am fully fit." Hazard, recovered from a calf problem, is also "ready" according to Mourinho.
Čech, thought to be out for weeks after dislocating his shoulder in Madrid last week, also trained and hinted he felt he was ready to start ahead of Mark Schwarzer but the manager stated: "His condition doesn't give him a chance." It remains to be seen if Eto'o has fully recovered from his knee injury. Lampard and Mikel are suspended.
Diego Simeone, coach
The confidence is always there, especially in a semi-final of the Champions League. That's already a massive statement. My players are excited and keen. We know we'll have to work hard tomorrow in a very difficult game, and we'll have to put in an enormous effort to get a positive result.
I'm not focusing on where we are at the moment. I just want us to keep moving forward, not on what we've achieved. I usually let you guys talk about the progress we've undertaken in the last three years of success, but I'm not comparing Atlético Madrid with Chelsea, a team who won the Champions League two years ago. In the end the best team will win. With our hard work and our enthusiasm, we can do well and maybe get a positive result.
I'm a football man. I respect different ways of setting out your team. It's about what's the best way for a specific game or a specific opposition. To defend well is not easy, so I congratulate teams who do that well. To attack well isn't easy, either. So you have to congratulate managers who get their sides doing that. Football evolves. There is no 'best way'. It depends on the manager spending time with his players, talking different set-ups and tactics, different approaches and styles.
But, in the end, it's important the team, the club, the institution wins, regardless of how it is achieved. There is no 'one way' to play football. If we all played the same way, it would be very boring. You can play ten at the back or ten up front. What matters is the result.
Sunday: Valencia 0-1 Atlético (Raúl García 43)
Courtois; Juanfran, Filipe Luís, Miranda, Godín; Gabi, Tiago, Koke, Raúl García (Sosa 69, Alderweireld 90+3); Diego Costa, Villa (Arda Turan 60).
• Victory this weekend extended Liga leaders Atlético's unbeaten league run to nine games, 14 fixtures in all competitions.
Defender Javi Manquillo is in the squad but is not expected to feature due to a neck injury. Gabi is suspended.
Atlético have won only once in nine away fixtures against English sides, losing four and drawing four. Their sole success was a 2-0 win at Leicester City FC in the 1997/98 UEFA Cup first round.
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