Matt Holland: How Chelsea beat Barcelona
As a child dreaming of becoming a footballer, perhaps the most common phrase I heard from coaches was '95% attitude, 5% ability'.
Those words came back to me last night as I witnessed Chelsea reach the Champions League final after beating all the odds to overcome Barcelona.
Coming up to half-time it looked as though all was lost. The captain John Terry had been sent off, his defensive partner Gary Cahill had departed due to injury and they were two goals behind.
At this stage everything that could go wrong had. Then Ramires gave them a lifeline and Torres completed the job with a breakaway goal in the dying moments.
In between those two goals was a heroic defensive performance built on pure determination.
I understand those that say this was a triumph for 'ugly' football. The way Chelsea set up preventing any space behind them meant that Barcelona were basically keeping possession outside the 18-yard box and going from side to side without being able to penetrate the wall of white shirts in front of them.
At times watching the game I was getting frustrated so I can only imagine how the Barca players felt. But you can't always win playing the beautiful game and this was the way for Chelsea to win.
Barca are technically superior and were always going to have more of the ball but you just have to accept that and keep patient and disciplined.
I never played for one of the so-called top sides and therefore there were many weeks we would come up against teams better than us. That meant that, like Chelsea last night, we had to be organised and everyone had to do their job right for us to get a result.
The game last night reminded me of numerous training sessions I have taken part in over the years of attack v defence. We would line up with a back four and a midfield four and for 45 minutes or so defend against wave after wave of attacks.
The hardest thing to do in football is score a goal and it's amazing how many times we came off the training field having not conceded.
The key is communication, keeping your shape, making sure the distance between each unit is right and not being dragged out of position.
It is one thing doing it in practice but quite another doing it in the biggest game of your life. The adrenaline that circulates your body and the pressure of the situation make it more difficult to keep your discipline.
You sometimes chase balls that you know you can't win or go to ground when you should stay on your feet. John Terry allowed that pressure to get the better of him but his team-mates didn't.
They did all the things needed to be difficult to beat and did them to perfection.
I honestly didn't expect Chelsea to be celebrating this morning but you have to admire their courageous display in adversity. They say you work a lot harder without the ball and they didn't have a lot of it!
As well as the physical demands, mentally the game would have drained the players. The level of concentration needed to get that result was huge. You also need a bit of luck and no-one can begrudge them that purely for their work-rate.
As for Barca, you have to feel a degree of sympathy. Defeat shouldn't detract from the fact that they are quite simply the best club side I have ever seen.
Perhaps over the two games they weren't at their brilliant best but they still had around 75% of the ball. They also hit the woodwork in both matches and Messi of all people missed a vital penalty.
Barcelona are a team for the purists and I enjoy watching them as much as anybody. I've talked about attitude and ability and I think as a club they have both in abundance.
Over the two legs, the Catalans may have won the ability battle but Chelsea just edged them when it came to having the will to win.
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