Barcelona’s Brazilian full-back Dani Alves has turned up the heat ahead of the Champions League semi-final against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, a game the visitors are 8/11 to win.
The two sides met at the same stage of the competition back in 2009 and the marauding right-back has claimed that ‘fear’ got the better of the London club as Barca progressed to lift the trophy in Rome.
“Chelsea did not reach the final because of fear. The team that has got a man more, is playing at home and winning should have attacked us more,” Alves explained.
“I think Chelsea lacked the courage to take a step forward and attack us. They paid for it. If you don’t have that [attacking] concept of football that Barcelona have, you stay back and you get knocked out.”
The Blues are priced at 4/1 to beat Barca this time out and will go into the game having won nine of Roberto Di Matteo’s matches in charge, and if they can get a result, their price of 10/1 to claim a first Champions League crown could be cut.
The attack on the Chelsea team of 2009 by Alves may seem a little retrospective and irrelevant, but when it is considered that 12 of the 18-man squad from that evening are still within the Chelsea ranks, the comments are sure to have an effect in the Pensioners changing room, as they gear up to face the 5/6 favourites to retain the trophy.
The West London outfit have also been handed a major blow as David Luiz is set to miss out through injury.
The unpredictable Brazilian has settled of late but damaged his hamstring at Wembley against Spurs; this will mean a big night for former Bolton man Gary Cahill, who is likely to step into the heart of the defence alongside John Terry.