Sunday 19 January 2020

Chelsea’s Ashley Cole believes European champions Barcelona can be stopped at Stamford Bridge

ASHLEY Cole, the Chelsea full-back, is confident Roberto Di Matteo's side can beat European champions Barcelona to progress to next month's Champions League final.

go into Wednesday's semi-final first leg at Stamford Bridge as massive underdogs to win the two-legged tie against a Barça team widely regarded as one of the greatest ever club teams in world football.

However, Cole has said the west Londoners will reach the final on May 19 in Munich, Germany.

"Chelsea, of course [will reach the final]. Chelsea against Real Madrid, I hope," Cole said. "We know what Barcelona are about and that we have to be on our game. We’re confident and feel we’re good enough to progress."

Despite having never won the European Cup, Chelsea, historically, have a decent record against the four-time winners having beaten them four times in 13 meetings against Barça's five wins.

"I do think that while they’re not worried about us, out of the teams they’ve played in the Champions League and the Premier League sides they’ve faced, we have given them the hardest run.

"We’re a tough team, we never give up. We fight for every ball, we’re strong in tackles and hopefully that will be in the back of their minds and we can take advantage of that. With teams like Barca, we think we know how to stop them.

"Is it going to happen on the day? You never know. If people like Lionel Messi don’t turn up we have a great chance."

Talking to uefa.com, Cole added that Chelsea's elimination at the same stage three years ago following a late goal from Andres Iniesta remains fresh in the memory.

"You have to be concentrated — not just for 90 minutes but for 94, 95 minutes. We know it’s going to be tough playing against this kind of team and players.

"They have got so many world-class players that you can’t take your eye off the ball for a minute because anyone of them can step up and do something magical.

"The match against them in 2009 was one of the best games I have seen Chelsea play, with the fight and the determination and the spirit. But Iniesta just popped up with that great strike. That’s what they’ve got. All they need is one shot.

"Messi is scoring goals and can do no wrong but they’re not a one-man team. People say what they’d be like without Messi but I don’t think that’s the case.

"All of their players are great. People may think we have to just stop Messi and that’s it but then you have the other players who come in and contribute so we know we have to stop more than Messi."

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