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Page last updated at 22:54 GMT, Tuesday, 28 April 2009 23:54 UK

Hiddink pays tribute to defence

Chelsea manager Guus Hiddink
Hiddink is wary about Messi's impact in the second leg

Chelsea manager Guus Hiddink hailed his side's defensive display in the 0-0 draw at Barcelona in the Champions League semi-final, first leg.

The Blues became the first visiting side to keep a clean sheet at the Camp Nou this season.

"We are pleased with the result," said Dutchman Hiddink.

"When you look at the short history of Barca and what their results have been and the score here, it's quite an achievement against a beautiful team."

Hiddink was not satisfied with his team's use of the ball in possession but says their mental strength played a significant part in going into the return leg on 6 May on level terms.

"We must play better when we are in possession," he stated. "We can play better, although it is also due to the opponents, who do not let you play that easily.

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"But on a mental part I think that this team has a lot of courage and blood that they want to sacrifice and win in all circumstances. This is mentally a very tough team."

Goalkeeper Petr Cech made some crucial saves in the game, while Jose Bosingwa's marking of Lionel Messi prevented the Argentine having a major impact on the game.

"Petr did a good defensive job. There were one or two situations where he could have cleared in a different way but it did not do any damage. He saved the game for us," added Hiddink.

"Messi was rather well neutralised tactically.

"Bosingwa did a good job and had some help from Florent Malouda on the left side and good support from the centre as well when Messi cut inside.

"It can happen one night that you stop him but I don't think it will happen twice."

Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola insisted his team would maintain their attacking philosophy at Stamford Bridge and had no complaints about Messi.

"He was the victim of extremely tight marking so it was not easy for him to find space," he said. "I think he did great, given the circumstances.

"It's never easy to play well when the opposition is not playing football.

"I am proud of my players. You can be sure we will go to London with the same attacking spirit."

It's never easy to play well when the opposition is not playing football

Barca coach Pep Guardiola

Barcelona centre-back Rafael Marquez suffered a knee injury during the game and has been ruled out for the rest of the season.

His replacement Carles Puyol picked up a yellow card, which means he will be suspended for the return leg.

However, Guardiola said: "They are very important players but that's no excuse for not getting to the final and we will find a solution for sure.

"Definitely the loss of Rafa is the worst news of the day but I think it will make us stronger."



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see also
Barcelona 0-0 Chelsea
28 Apr 09 |  Europe
Barcelona v Chelsea as it happened
28 Apr 09 |  Europe
Barcelona v Chelsea photos
28 Apr 09 |  Football


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