Chelsea vs Atletico Madrid preview - Cech not fit for Blues



Posted Wednesday, April 30, 2014 by PA

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has confirmed Petr Cech is not in contention to play Wednesday's Champions League semi-final second leg with Atletico Madrid despite sending the goalkeeper out to training on Tuesday morning in a show of togetherness.

Cech took part in training on the eve of the contest a week after being ruled out for the season by Mourinho with a dislocated shoulder sustained in the first leg.

Cech departed after 20 minutes of last Tuesday's first leg, which finished 0-0, to be replaced by Mark Schwarzer, who is poised to continue again.

Mourinho insisted the Czech goalkeeper trained alongside injured personnel, suspended players and those fully fit to show solidarity.

"Everybody's ready and he's ready and that's the message we wanted to give," the Portuguese said. "Everybody was on the pitch.

"It's a very important match for our group. Everybody's together, everybody wants to help, everybody wants to play.

"His condition doesn't allow him to play, but the message from him and the group."

Captain John Terry (ankle) was also present in training, having initially been ruled out up to the May 24 final in Lisbon, while Eden Hazard (calf) and Samuel Eto'o (knee) were also present after recent absences.

As well as playing for a place in the Champions League final and a third European final in three years, the Blues are in contention for domestic silverware.

The London side won 2-0 at Liverpool last weekend to keep themselves in with a chance of the Premier League title, albeit a slim one with two games to play.

Mourinho's defensive tactics were criticised, among them by Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers, who accused Chelsea of "parking two buses".

"Pundits are pundits and I don't want to comment a lot," added Mourinho, who employed Rodgers at Chelsea during his first spell.

"Brendan is a manager and is somebody that I consider my friend.

"I met him a long time ago when he was a very young coach coaching kids and I consider him a friend.

"I know his words after the match but I also know his words today and today he told me congratulations for a great victory and a great performance.

"I prefer to forget the words after the match and I keep the words of today."

Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone shares Mourinho's belief that winning is all that matters as the Spanish leaders bid to eliminate Chelsea.

Following a goalless draw in the first leg at the Vicente Calderon Stadium last Tuesday and Sunday's win at Premier League leaders' Liverpool, Mourinho's defensive tactics were questioned.

Simeone did not add to the criticism, instead admitting to respecting a well-organised team such as Mourinho's.

"I'm a football man, I respect different ways of setting out your team," Simeone said.

"You can play 10 at the back or you can play 10 at the front. It doesn't matter. What matters is the result.

"It depends what you believe is the convenient way of playing and who you're playing against.

"To defend well is not easy, so you have to congratulate a team that defends well.

"To attack well is not easy either, so you have to congratulate also a team that goes on the attack.

"It's important that, regardless of how you play, that the team wins, that the club wins, that the institution as a whole wins.

"There is not one way of playing football. If we all played the same way it would be very boring."

Atletico are on the verge of an historic season which could finish with the Primera Division title and a Champions League final in Lisbon on May 24, with Simeone responsible for much of the progress the club has made in his two-and-a-half years as boss.

"I'm not thinking about what we've achieved," Simeone said.

"I'm not focusing on where we are at the moment, I'm just focusing on keeping on moving forward.

"I'm not comparing Chelsea, a team that won the Champions League two years ago, with Atletico Madrid.

"In the end the best team will win and I believe with our hard work, I believe we can do well and maybe try to get a positive result."

Atletico goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois is set to play at Stamford Bridge for first time as a Chelsea player.

The Belgium goalkeeper joined the Blues from Genk but has spent three years on loan in Madrid.

Courtois has become one of the most sought-after goalkeepers in Europe during his time at Atletico and has been backed by Simeone to handle the pressure.

Simeone added: "He's working hard to compete, to be one of the best goalkeepers at the moment.

"So far, he's still a very young player. He's still a player that's growing. He still needs the time to mature and to grow."



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