HERE’S Jose Mourinho on Chelsea’s chances: “Let me be honest, I don’t think the final will be a Real Madrid/Chelsea final.
“It could be Bayern or Barcelona, I just don’t think it will be Real Madrid v Chelsea and we know why.”
Now former Blues boss Mourinho isn’t exactly unbiased about this situation – what with being involved in some of the most fiercely contested ties with Barca in modern history – but his views are echoed by the great majority of observers.
There was almost a gulp after the final whistle had blown against Benfica – a two-legged affair where an at one point comfortable Chelsea stuttered over the finish line.
Messi et al were coming to town.
But while the defending champions and their unique brand of possession football nearly always prevails, they do sometimes falter – they’re only human.
Add to this the weight of expectation hanging over their necks, amplified by the shadow of Real Madrid’s domestic performance this season, and a revitalised Chelsea old guard’s perception of an injustice under Mr Mourinho to readdress, and over the 180 minutes you can see how the doubts could creep in to Pep Guardiola’s charges.
This is European football, the unexpected can and does happen – just ask quarter finalist minnows Apoel Nicosia, just ask Europa League giants Manchester United and Manchester City…