After the success of our interviews in the quarter-finals of the Champions League with experts of each of the 8 teams, we have decided to speak to more experts of the remaining four competing teams, to get a better understanding of how they see the ties, and what we can expect. You can read our previous interviews here.
Chelsea’s Premier League title challenge slipped well away from their grasp. How important is it now that Mourinho’s men win the Champions League and don’t end up trophyless?
Jose Mourinho says this is a team for next season and beyond but when you spend the sort of money we have – perhaps it wasn’t spent in the right areas – Chelsea ought to be challenging for silverware and the Champions League has to be the focus with our European status now secured.
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Atletico Madrid are one of the most organized and tactically adept sides in Europe right now. How would you set-up against them?
They’ve impressed both at home and in Europe, which is a major achievement when comparing their resources to the Spanish giants Real Madrid and Barcelona. I think having the second leg at home is massive for the Blues as the initiative is on Atletico to come at them in the first game, so we’ll probably see a cautious Mourinho side that’ll be designed to take something tangible back to Stamford Bridge to finish the job.
Chelsea aren’t spoiled for choice in the striker’s department and Atletico have managed to keep the likes of Barca & Real’s attacks quiet this season. What do Chelsea need to do upfront?
I think Chelsea have bigger problems in the middle of the park as it takes them far too long to move ball from back to front, while Ramires has been nothing but a liability and Oscar has barely created anything of note for months. The strikers aren’t great, but they certainly aren’t being helped by our turgid and predictable movements either.
Chelsea have been in similar situations before and emerged through from it. But is this the biggest week of Chelsea’s recent history?
This side has now won all the major honours possible in recent years and this sort of experience wouldn’t faze them. If they still had the Premier League in their own hands as well as playing a semi-final in a major European competition then it could be regarded as being on the brink of their most historic achievement, but ‘we’ve done it before’ and looks as though the Champions League is the basket all our eggs should be in for the moment.
Diego Costa is the main man for Atletico Madrid and has been impressive throughout the season, setting up well with Raul Garcia. Any special duties to keep him under control?
I’m not too worried about the defence, it’s the area that gives us the least amount of concern, but cutting the supply line would be a start. Costa is a tricky customer and we all know about his ability in front of goal but he’s almost Didier Drogba-like with his gamesmanship, he’s a little bit of a cheat which is why I think he’d work wonderfully with Mourinho next season if the rumours are true.