Chelsea FC coach Avram Grant insists his side "have learned from our mistakes" in Istanbul as they take on Fenerbahçe SK with a place in the semi-finals at stake.
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Chelsea FC coach Avram Grant promises that their UEFA Champions League quarter-final second leg against Fenerbahçe SK will be different from last week's game in Istanbul, where the London side lost a 1-0 lead as they were hit by two second-half goals.
The return of goalkeeper Petr Čech from an ankle problem may have been postponed by two weeks following facial surgery, but Grant has cause for confidence nonetheless. His team welcome the Turkish champions to Stamford Bridge knowing they have got through on the three previous occasions they have contested a quarter-final of Europe's greatest club competition in the last five seasons.
"Of course I have thought about the game in Istanbul," said Grant. "I don't think any game is the same as the last one and [Tuesday] will be a different game. In Istanbul it was a good performance but the worst result, so obviously we don't want it to be the same. These things happen in football, especially when you dominate the game and your concentration is affected. The only thing I would say is that we have learned from our mistakes. We want to dominate this game, which won't be easy, and then we want to stay concentrated for the whole game. Our target is to reach the semi-finals and we will do everything to reach it. It's a big opportunity for us."
The Čech injury, resulting from a training-ground collision with a team-mate, is not as critical for the hosts as it might have been given the calibre of the man who stands in for him – Carlo Cudicini. Otherwise, Grant should pick from a fully-fit squad with Ricardo Carvalho expected to come through Tuesday's final training session without mishap. Despite the deficit, Chelsea's supporters will be anticipating a successful conclusion to the tie for a side who remain strong challengers for the Premier League crown – with Manchester United FC being held at Middlesbrough FC, the Blues are within three points of the summit after Saturday's 2-0 win at Manchester City FC .
Yet, according to the English media, Grant remains a coach under pressure. "How many times have you asked me this question?" was his retort to an inquiry about whether his job is on the line in this contest. "So many times I have been asked this and the answer is always the same – I need to do my job and all that matters is getting through to the next round."
Fenerbahçe coach Zico can include defender Gökhan Gönül again after suspension but is likely to stick with Gökçek Vederson at left-back as Roberto Carlos is still not 100 per cent fit following a thigh injury. Claudio Maldonado complained of flu symptoms on Monday and was excused training but it is hoped he will be available. Zico says the fact his team, 2-1 weekend victors over Kayserispor, hold the lead will not affect the way they approach the match. "We will play the way we always play," he said, "and that's to attack. It's the reason we are here. Every single minute, every second, will be important. We have to be careful and take our advantages in the good spells we will have."