Ashley Cole expects both a superb atmosphere and a Chelsea FC victory at the Mestalla when the English champions put their hopes on the line at Valencia CF.
Ashley Cole expects the Valencia CF fans to create a ferocious atmosphere at the Mestalla on Tuesday night - but says Chelsea FC are focused solely on scoring the goals needed to reach the UEFA Champions League semi-finals for the third time in four seasons.
Cole, a finalist with Arsenal FC in 2006 prior to his move across London, played here with the Gunners in 2000/01. A 1-0 defeat ended their campaign at the quarter-final stage on away goals - a danger now facing Chelsea following the 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge last Wednesday. "We need to score goals," the left-back said. "We have it in the players and are confident we can come here and score goals and keep a clean sheet to go with it."
Nonetheless, the 26-year-old knows the Mestalla faithful will do all they can to prevent Chelsea adding to Didier Drogba's first-leg equaliser, as Valencia look to extend their eleven-game unbeaten home run against English sides. "It's a great ground, they have passionate fans," said Cole. "It will be hostile, but I have played in games in those circumstances and the other players have too, and we know what will be expected. Hopefully we can be professional, block it out and get a result. The main thing is to attack and get as many goals as we can."
But, as Chelsea discovered on home soil, Valencia are not a team who concede easily. "I think it will be a physically hard game," Cole continued. "They like to attack and are more attacking than physical, but we don't mind putting it about ourselves and if that's the game we have to play, we will." Winning this competition for the first time has been a priority for Chelsea in recent campaigns, yet the only London club to have contested Europe's premier final are Cole's former employers Arsenal - on a night last May that ended in heartbreak against FC Barcelona. Unsurprisingly, the England defender is determined to go one better, saying: "It takes a lot of guts and determination, and good players, to get to the quarter-finals. Last year I was disappointed to lose. Hopefully this year could be my year."