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Ballack: We want to rule Europe
Published : 29 Apr 2009 17:00:00
Michael Ballack aims to erase the memory of last season's Champions League final defeat by lifting the trophy in Rome at the end of May. Ballack played his defensive part in Chelsea's creditable goalless draw with Barcelona in their semi-final first leg in the Nou Camp on Tuesday night. A superb defensive performance from the Blues kept free-scoring Barcelona at bay to give Chelsea a slight advantage going into the return leg at Stamford Bridge next week. Chelsea were defiant and disciplined to a man as they stifled the life out of Barca's attack. The Catalan giants had not failed to score at home all season and Lionel Messi, Thierry Henry and Samuel Eto'o have hit 90 goals between them. But makeshift left-back Jose Bosingwa made Messi looked distinctly ordinary and John Terry and Alex were rock-solid at the heart of the backline. The rest of the Chelsea team produced equally praiseworthy displays, including Germany midfielder Ballack who is determined to wipe away the memory of last year's defeat by Manchester United with victory in Rome. "We don't just want to reach the final, we want to win it," said Ballack. "You could see by the team spirit that everyone wants to get to the final again. "It's not easy to reach the final again in the next year, but we have a big chance now. "If you saw how we got through to the final last year we were very focused and knew what we had to do. "We have that experience to go on but Barcelona have it as well. There are always little points or a mistake that decide a game and this could be what happens at Stamford Bridge. "We have to do the same hard work and I'm sure it will be very close. "It is not easy to win here that is why we are happy with the result. "It was a difficult game, but we defended very well. Of course we would be more happy if we had scored, but we will take the 0-0 and now we are at home, it should be a completely different game. "It will be another difficult 90 minutes. They have great footballers in their team. "It was one of our best defensive performances this season. We knew we all had to defend. "As they came closer to our goal we all got very close and defended very well. It was a great compliment to the team." Chelsea's title hopes have all but disappeared and coach Guus Hiddink can afford to rest players for Saturday's west London derby with Fulham. Barcelona, on the other hand, cannot afford to let more points slip in their bid to be Spanish champions. They face Real Madrid in a top-of-the table clash this weekend and are now just four points ahead of them at the summit. "We had this problem ourselves a couple of years ago when Liverpool rested eight players," said Ballack. "We will see what happens. We know they have a difficult game against Real, but we have a difficult game as well and we want to win it. "Of course if you see what has happened in the last week and what they face next week, it is really difficult for them. They can win a lot, but they can lose a lot. "We knew we had to focus on the FA Cup and Champions League and we have done it."