Hiddink calls for courage: 'We must put the brakes on best team in the world'

28 April 2009 09:03
Guus Hiddink has demanded his Chelsea players stand toe to toe with the finest attacking unit in world football tonight.

Free-scoring Barcelona will unleash Lionel Messi, Samuel Eto'o and Thierry Henry on Chelsea in the Champions League semi-final first leg at the Nou Camp. But Hiddink is convinced he will return from Spain having 'put the brakes' on the favourites.

He called for his players to take heart, saying: 'Chelsea are not a team who can sit back and wait. It's a team that must play courageously. We know we are facing the best in the world at this moment with their very attractive style.

Rallying cry: Hiddink has urged his Chelsea players to take the game to Barcelona

'They won't change that style so much, or in their approach, because it's the way Barcelona play. We've got to put them on hold, put the brakes on them, but it is a big achievement for us to get to the semi-finals.

'To get to the final, we should also take the initiative. If we just wait and get scared by the actions of their strikers or one or two of their midfielders, then you lose this game.'

Hiddink will play Jose Bosingwa at left back in place of the suspended Ashley Cole to combat Barcelona's mesmerising forward Messi, but Chelsea's interim manager admits the Spanish league leaders have match-winners all over the pitch.

No pressure, then: Hiddink collars Bosingwa in a good humoured Chelsea training session

Pep Guardiola's free-scoring Barca put five goals past Lyon in the second round at the Nou Camp and followed that performance with a 4-0 thrashing of Bayern Munich at home in the quarter-final.

Henry scored with a stunning lob against Valencia last weekend and Eto'o is top of the league goal charts with 27 after rediscovering his touch.

Free scoring: Messi netted twice during the 4-0 demolition of Bayern

Hiddink added: 'We can focus on Messi when he is on the ball, but it is even better if we can prevent the ball getting to him. If he gets the ball 10 or 15 times he can be very dangerous, so we have to prevent him getting that number of opportunities.

'In our previous round against Liverpool and no disrespect to them they had Steven Gerrard, Fernando Torres and Dirk Kuyt, but Barcelona have a lot of players who can make the last pass or have the ability to score. It will be even more difficult.

'My team has to show the guts to play and not wait until we are beaten. It would be wonderful to get to the final. I have the experience of big games, of course, but I must try to stay calm and be focused because, maybe, with the limited power a manager has, I can do something to help the team.'

 Martin Samuel: Changing of the guard? Not for Barcelona hero PepChelsea dream of a small miracle. but Barca already have one in Leo MessiEto'o set to snub Chelsea and Spurs with £30m move to Man CityBelletti: Forget United and Arsenal, if we beat Barca we'll be Euro championsBarcelona v CHELSEA: Deco and Carvalho out for Blues and Cole is suspendedCHELSEA FC

Source: Daily_Mail