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Barca Players Slam Negative Chelsea
Published : 29 Apr 2009 07:09:00
Barcelona's players rounded on what they deemed a negative and cynical Chelsea side following the teams' 0-0 draw in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final on Tuesday night. Barcelona failed to score at home for the first time this season against a Chelsea side which defended in numbers and committed almost three times as many fouls as the Catalans. Chelsea often had nine men behind the ball, with just Didier Drogba alone up front. And the Londoners' lack of ambition failed to impress Barcelona. Defender Gerard Pique believes only his side played any football over the 90 minutes. "Barcelona were the only team who wanted to play, and yet the reward is for Chelsea, even though it seems like they came for a draw," he said. Pique came through the youth system at Barcelona and returned to the club in the summer following a spell at Manchester United. The Catalan defender was on the bench for United in last season's Champions League semi-final at Barcelona, which also finished goalless. He was preferred to captain Carles Puyol at the back this time for the locals, though, and says Barcelona can hold their heads high after a game which they dominated from start to finish. "At least we know we're superior because we showed that on the pitch," he said. Xavi, meanwhile, accused Chelsea of anti-fair play. "There were some actions which were clear yellow cards and not even a foul was given, and then (Yaya) Toure was booked for protesting. "One team wanted to play and the other one didn't, it's a shame... there's all this talk about fair play, but I haven't seen any from them tonight," he said. Toure, who was booked for protesting a refereeing decision, believes German official Wolfgang Stark should have punished Chelsea players for their persistent fouls. "It was worse than deplorable - it looked as if he had come to help Chelsea," he said. Barca and Chelsea ended up with two yellow cards apiece, but Toure says Hiddink's men should have had more. "Players like (Michael) Ballack and (John Obi) Mikel made so many fouls, it's unbelievable to think they weren't booked," he said. Like Pique, Barca President Joan Laporta also believes Chelsea were happy to play for a draw. "They defended a lot and very well, although it looked as if that is exactly what they came to do: defend," he said. Nevertheless, Laporta is confident Barcelona can reach a second Champions League final since he took control of the club in 2003. "They didn't score and that's the most important thing; we know a goal for us at Stamford Bridge will make life very difficult for them," he said. And striker Samuel Eto'o believes Chelsea will be obliged to play a more open and positive game when the two sides meet in London on May 6. "We will try to score there in order to relax, but they won't be able to play like they did today, with nearly all of their players waiting in their own half," he said. Eto'o feels the Catalans still have a great chance of making the final in Rome next month. "0-0 is not a bad result and we still have a great chance of getting to the final - a goal in London will change everything," he said. Barca coach Pep Guardiola will have problems in central defence for that match, though. Rafa Marquez broke down with a knee injury on Tuesday night and will be sidelined for the rest of the season, while Puyol's booking means he is suspended for the return leg. Gabi Milito is still out with a long-term injury, meaning Uruguay defender Martin Caceres - the club's only other senior centre-back - is likely to come in for a rare start.