Champions League preview – Chelsea v Barcelona | World Soccer

Chelsea will be without influential attacker Arjen Robben when they look to overturn Barcelona’s slender 2-1 advantage from the first leg of their UEFA Champions League tie tonight.

The Dutch winger has not recovered from his foot injury and will play no part, according to manager Jose Mourinho.

It is a blow for the Chelsea coach, who in the absence of the suspended Didier Drogba, was hoping to unleash the pacey Dutch winger on his opponents.

“In the first game Barcelona were better than us, so we need to play better than them this time,” said Mourinho.

“They want to get to the quarter-final and we want to do the same.”

Mourinho played down criticism of his team’s style from the Barcelona players and also denied there is any animosity between the two teams.

“They are winning 2-1 and there are 90 minutes, or two hours, to go,” Mourinho explained.

“We feel Didier Drogba should be in the game, he isn’t, so it’s had an influence in both matches. But we have to accept it and do without him.”

Chelsea captain John Terry, midfielder Claude Makelele and winger Damien Duff all picked up knocks in Saturday’s win over Norwich but should be fit to play. Scott Parker, out for ten weeks, will be on the bench.

Barcelona, who are without centre-half Rafael Márquez but will be pleased to see the return of Ludovic Giuly who has been out for two matches with a back injury.

Barça coach Frank Rijkaard is anticipating a tough encounter tonight, but he admits that his players are relishing the prospect.

“We are all aware it will be a tough game, an important game, but these are the games professionals want to play in,” said Rijkaard.

“We can’t afford to forget that Chelsea have some very good attacking players who can hurt you but I think it’s true to say that Chelsea go for the result a little more than Barcelona.

“We play to entertain the season ticket holders with the result obviously being important in every single case while Chelsea play more on the counter than we do.”

Like his Chelsea counterpart, Rijkaard was also keen to play down talk of a feud.

“Mourinho is doing a great job and is a very successful coach,” he said.

“Everyone has the right to say what he wants and to act the way he prefers and if that’s his chosen form and he’s happy with it, I’m not one to complain about it.

“The nice thing about life is that people are different and it’s the same in football. Not everyone is alike and that’s OK, otherwise it would be a boring situation.”

Probable teams: 
Chelsea: (4-4-2) Cech, Ferreira, Carvalho, Terry, Gallas, Lampard, Makelele, Tiago, Cole, Duff, Gudjohnsen.

Barcelona: (4-3-3) Valdes, Beletti, Puyol, Oleguer, Van Bronckhorst, Xavi, Gerard, Deco, Iniesta/Giuly, Eto’o, Ronaldinho.

Referee: Pierluiigi Collina (Italy)

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