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Eto'o seeks levelling blow

Published: Wednesday 22 February 2006, 8.41CET
Samuel Eto'o believes FC Barcelona will avenge last season's UEFA Champions League defeat by Chelsea FC, starting with tonight's first leg in London.
by Brian Brownstein
from London features

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Published: Wednesday 22 February 2006, 8.41CET

Eto'o seeks levelling blow

Samuel Eto'o believes FC Barcelona will avenge last season's UEFA Champions League defeat by Chelsea FC, starting with tonight's first leg in London.

FC Barcelona striker Samuel Eto'o is delighted at the chance to inflict immediate revenge upon Chelsea FC ahead of their UEFA Champions League meeting.

Bitter memory
The two sides meet at Stamford Bridge, a repeat of last season's Round of 16 second-leg fixture, a match which the west London side won 4-2, going through to the quarter-finals 5-4 on aggregate. Eto'o admits he is still haunted by memories of that defeat and is adamant that José Mourinho's team will get their comeuppance, starting with the first leg of this year's duel.

Revenge mission
"I am pleased we have the chance to get revenge on them for last season and knock one of our biggest rivals out of the UEFA Champions League." Eto'o told "Last season we were not happy with certain aspects of the Chelsea game at Stamford Bridge and I genuinely think it can help us win this year. We have learned a lot from that loss. It was a match that either side could have won, but ultimately I think Chelsea had more luck than us.

"I am not scared of defeat at all," he added. "We really are feeling confident and positive about this match. We just have to believe in ourselves, not be afraid of Chelsea and produce our best football on the night, just the way we have been doing over the past few months."

'A better side'
African Footballer of the Year Eto'o also taunted Chelsea, claiming that the Primera División champions are a better team and play better football than their Premiership counterparts. "My first reaction at being drawn with Chelsea was not good because they are one of the hardest teams left in the competition," he said. "But in time I have started to see the positive side, and I think we will beat Chelsea because we are a better side than them.

'More stylish'
"There is no doubt at all that Barça play the more stylish, prettier football of the two teams," he added. "We love to keep the ball and make lots of goalscoring opportunities. We are a very attacking side and I think our supporters enjoy watching us play. Chelsea have their own style and I think it's up to Chelsea fans to ask them what they think, but personally I like more attacking teams."

Attacking trio
Barça enter the match on the back of a 5-1 victory against Real Betis Balompié, a win which saw them maintain their six-point lead at the top of Primera División. And Eto'o, 24, claims that the Chelsea defence will not be able to cope with Barça's three-pronged attacking threat of FIFA World Footballer of the Year Ronaldinho, Argentinian prodigy Lionel Messi and himself.

Dazzling style
"If the team can move the ball around quickly I think it will be very hard for Chelsea," Eto'o said. "We will counterattack, we'll be solid in defence and we'll create opportunities in attack. Ronaldinho, Messi and myself can create a very big problem for Chelsea's defence.

Ronaldinho threat
"I'm sure Ronaldinho will hurt Chelsea again," he added. "He will do very well at Stamford Bridge. I firmly believe that. He's in good form and wants this title more than anyone else. He will be up for it. All the pressure is on Chelsea's team in this game."

Stepping stone
Meanwhile, Eto'o was hoping that Stamford Bridge would be a stepping stone to a place in the final. "We trust in our own abilities that we can beat Chelsea and win the competition," he added. "If we work together we are a great side. I think it will be a really interesting game."

Last updated: 02/03/06 10.51CET

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