SPARTAK MOSCOW vs CHELSEA
Sky Sports 2, kick-off 5:30pm
IF recent history is anything to go by, Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti has good reason to fear his side’s visit to the Luzhniki Stadium this evening.
Last time the Blues played there John Terry ended the night in tears after the captain’s penalty shoot-out miss denied them a first Champions League title. If that were not enough, Spartak Moscow have since restored their home’s all-weather artificial surface, the kind on which Tottenham toiled miserably against Young Boys just weeks ago. But Ancelotti does not believe Terry or his team-mates will be haunted by bad memories when the Group F pacesetters meet in the Russian capital.
“John has great experience so I think what happened two years ago has no effect on him, he has experience,” he said. “Everyone knows in football you can sometimes lose games. I lost a final in 2005 but you have to look forward. If you look forward with enthusiasm and character you can have revenge. Chelsea lost the final in 2008 but I don’t think they will have a psychological problem with that tomorrow, it is a different story now.”
The Italian also dismissed concerns about the pitch but admitted he would not decide on his team until seeing how players reacted to training on the surface last night. Chelsea are without striker Didier Drogba, defender Alex, midfielder Frank Lampard and full-back Jose Bosingwa, but forwards Salomon Kalou and Daniel Sturridge could return.
“I can say nothing about this because we haven’t tried this kind of pitch,” he said. “We want to try it this evening in the training session and after that we can have an opinion about this. We don’t have a problem to play here, I hope, but it is different, it is one of the best artificial pitches. We don’t complain about this.”