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Last Updated: Tuesday, 14 February 2006, 08:06 GMT
Barca have Chelsea pitch concerns
The Stamford Bridge pitch is in poor condition
Barcelona's flowing football may be hampered at Stamford Bridge
Barcelona have voiced concerns about Chelsea's pitch ahead of the Champions League tie on 22 February.

Large patches of the playing surface are devoid of grass and Barca defender Silvinho, who was at Arsenal for two years, said: "I cannot believe it.

"I have heard they are making the condition of their pitch worse. I've heard many complaints about the pitch."

Chelsea spokesman Simon Greenberg said: "We will see how it stands up to the next week before deciding our action."

The Blues are due to play Colchester in the FA Cup this Sunday, Barcelona in the Champions League on Wednesday and Portsmouth in the Premiership three days later.

Greenberg added: "The big problem is that relaying a pitch at this time of year makes it much more difficult to lay a new one in the summer.

"The pitch here has always been a difficult one. Last year it contributed to Scott Parker picking up a bad injury playing for us. It is all about where it is and where it can get the benefit of natural growth.

"We missed a good window to relay it earlier this season after we had played Charlton at Stamford Bridge and then did not have another home game for two weeks, but the surface deteriorated badly during that time.

"Now we have three home games in a week coming up and you need two weeks more after that to let a new pitch settle. If you play on it before then the new grass can move around and be just as difficult.

"So we have simply not decided yet whether to do anything drastic about it."

The first leg of the Champions League tie takes place at Stamford Bridge, with the return leg in Spain on 7 March.

The two teams met at the quarter-final stage of the competition last season - in what proved to be an acrimonious encounter.

Chelsea won last season's match 5-4 on aggregate but the tie was marred by controversy.

Blues boss Jose Mourinho accused referee Anders Frisk of talking to Barca coach Frank Rijkaard at half-time in Chelsea's 2-1 first-leg defeat at the Nou Camp.

Frisk then announced his decision to retire from the game because he had received death threats and Mourinho was fined and banned for two games over his comments.





SEE ALSO
Chelsea hold off re-laying pitch
09 Feb 06 |  Chelsea


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