André Villas-Boas believes Chelsea FC's "time will come" in the UEFA Champions League but admits the competition is tough as they kick off against Bayer 04 Leverkusen.
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Having led FC Porto to UEFA Europa League glory last season, André Villas-Boas is determined to repeat the trick in the UEFA Champions League with Chelsea FC as they open their Group E campaign against Bayer 04 Leverkusen.
Manager André Villas-Boas
We have been determined to make [the Champions League] one of our objectives this season. We hope to progress all the way and hope to be at the level the Champions League requires. We have to be extremely focused. A lot of top European clubs have not won this competition but want it. Our time will come.
The amount of top teams you have is even more visible this year with the amount of teams of quality and in-depth squads. Man City, Inter Milan will try to regain a trophy they lost, Real Madrid with the squad they have. There are so many in-depth squads that can go all the way.
[Leverkusen] are a very good team and are picking up in the league. They have a good blend of experience and players coming through. It will be a tough match. We have [been placed] in a difficult group with Valencia, Leverkusen and the Belgian champions Genk and it's a fresh start to another season where the level is extremely high. We have to be up to the challenge.
Saturday: Sunderland AFC 1-2 Chelsea
(Ji 90+1; Terry 18, Sturridge 50)
Čech; Bosingwa, Ivanović, Terry, Cole; Ramires, Meireles, Lampard; Sturridge (Malouda 62), Anelka (Romeu 79), Mata (Torres 74)
• Raul Meireles and Oriol Romeu made their Chelsea debuts at Sunderland.
Didier Drogba will miss the game after a head injury suffered at the end of last month. Michael Essien is likely to be out until January after undergoing surgery on a knee injury he suffered in the first week of pre-season training. Petr Čech returned at Sunderland after four weeks out with a knee problem, David Luiz was on the bench after recovering from a thigh strain that had sidelined him so far this campaign and John Obi Mikel is back training after solving visa problems. Ramires is suspended.
Coach Robin Dutt
I do think we actually have our chances here even if it will be fairly difficult. We are looking forward to this match. [Being back in the UEFA Champions League] is very important for all of us, players, managers and coaches. It is a very high level on the pitch and it reflects positively on the club our being in it.
Keeping our emotions in check will be key. We have a lot of young and inexperienced players and for them it is really very special playing there tomorrow. We have respect for Chelsea, which is definitely necessary, but we are trying not to have too much. I think we can use our emotions to turn it into a positive energy for ourselves.
Friday: FC Augsburg 1-4 Leverkusen
(Hosogai 5; Sam 6 72, Kiessling 23, Derdiyok 79)
Leno; Castro, Reinartz, Toprak, Schwaab; Bender (Balitsch 68), Rolfes, Renato Augusto, Ballack (Schürrle 60), Sam; Kiessling (Derdiyok 75)
Dutt says Lar Bender "will probably play" after a knee injury. Tranquillo Barnetta could miss the group stage after undergoing another operation on his right knee. First-choice goalkeeper René Adler has been sidelined since undergoing knee surgery in mid-July and understudy Fabian Giefer has not played since suffering concussion against Mainz on 7 August. Bastian Oczipka has a broken left ankle.
Leverkusen, in the UEFA Champions League for the first time since 2004/05, have not won in seven previous visits to England while Chelsea are unbeaten at home to German clubs.