Posted on 18 April 2012 by admin
Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola has praised Chelsea ahead of their UEFA Champions League semi-final first leg, and claims he is ‘struggling’ to see how his side can score against them.
Reigning European champions Barca head into the last four encounter as firm favourites as they chase a third Champions League title in four years.
However, Chelsea go into the game in fine form after undergoing something of a revival under caretaker boss Roberto Di Matteo, who replaced Andre Villas-Boas in February.
As well as guiding them to the Champions League semi-finals he has also led them to the FA Cup final and revived their hopes of a top four place in the Premier League.
Guardiola, whose Barca side beat Chelsea on away goals at this stage of the competition in 2009, was quick to brush off his side’s favourites tag, insisting his players faced a real challenge to break through the Blues defence.
“I’m struggling to see how we’ll hurt them, create chances and score,” said the 41-year-old.
“We shouldn’t forget they’ve been very consistent here in this stadium, winning all five of their [Champions League] games.
“They have the same spirit, the same soul, the same foundation [as 2009].
“They’ve changed the manager and a couple of players, but the same players are largely there.
“I do admire that generation of players, who have done so well over the last seven years and have got into so many semi-finals and finals, and competed in the Premier League so well.
“We’re the holders at the moment, so everyone wants to beat us and play well against us.”
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