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Desailly backing Chelsea and Milan

Marcel Desailly has told uefa.com he expects his old clubs Chelsea FC and AC Milan to come through their semi-final tests and reach the showpiece in Athens.

Progress predicted
A European champion with Milan in 1994, Desailly later played for the Chelsea side that reached the last four of the UEFA Champions League in 2004, before losing to AS Monaco FC. Despite Milan going down 3-2 to Manchester United FC in their first leg at Old Trafford last night, Desailly believes that both they and Chelsea, who face Liverpool FC at Stamford Bridge tonight, will progress. "I expect to see Chelsea and Milan, my last two clubs, in the final," he told uefa.com.

'Know each other well'
Looking ahead to Chelsea's repeat of their 2005 semi-final with Liverpool, Desailly predicted a tight encounter that will be decided by whichever team can better withstand the pressure. "It's two teams who know each other well and it will be the team who gets a bit down physically who loses, as that will lead to mistakes and the other team will take advantage."

No advantage
Desailly dismissed the theory that Liverpool will benefit from going into the tie fresher than a Chelsea team chasing silverware on two other fronts. Whereas José Mourinho's men have fought through to the FA Cup final and are still embroiled in a tight Premiership title chase with Manchester United, Liverpool's sole focus for weeks has been Europe. However, Desailly said: "You're either at the top or you're not. They [Chelsea] have the squad to handle that. As a player you want frequent games instead of long periods out - it keeps you in the rhythm of the game. You know it's the end of the season and you're trying to reach your objective so want to play."