Chelsea hope old boys can help clear Portuguese hurdle
Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo is looking to his Benfica old boys as the Blues attempt to edge closer to the Champions League semi-finals against the Portuguese giants here Tuesday.sports Updated: Mar 27, 2012 00:34 IST
Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo is looking to his Benfica old boys as the Blues attempt to edge closer to the Champions League semi-finals against the Portuguese giants here Tuesday.
Di Matteo's side head into their quarter-final at the Stadium of Light hoping to exploit the inside knowledge of defender David Luiz and midfielder Ramires, who both played at Benfica before joining Chelsea. "They are looking forward to going back and it can help. They know the atmosphere and the team," Di Matteo said.
Chelsea's bid to secure qualification for next season's Champions League suffered a setback on Saturday when they could only manage a draw against Tottenham, a result which leaves them five points adrift of the top four.
It is estimated that failure to reach the Champions League next year would create a £37 million hole in the club's finances, leaving the Blues struggling to meet the criteria set down by UEFA's Financial Fair Play rules, which will be introduced in 2013 based on clubs' accounts from the current season and next season.
Benfica coach Jorge Jesus is confident his side have the firepower to trouble Chelsea's defence, with Paraguayan striker Oscar Cardozo and veteran Pablo Aimar the danger men.
Jesus said he had hoped for Chelsea when the draw for the quarter-finals was made, pointing out that his team had already eliminated Manchester United in the group stage earlier.
"There are four players I know very well at Chelsea, players who helped make me a better coach," Jesus said, referring to David Luiz, Ramires and reserves Paulo Ferreira and goalkeeper Hilario.