Pep 'struggles' with Chelsea tactics

Pep Guardiola

Pep Guardiola

First published in National Sport News © by

Pep Guardiola has lavished praise on Chelsea's ageing stars and claimed he is struggling to formulate a plan to see off the Blues and earn his Barcelona team a place in their eighth European Cup final.

Upon taking charge at Stamford Bridge last summer, Andre Villas-Boas embarked on a new project which centred on fazing out veterans such as Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba, but the move backfired, with Villas-Boas leaving the club last month after a dreadful run of form and reports of disharmony within the dressing room.

His successor Roberto Di Matteo has turned back to Chelsea's trusted lieutenants with success, and Guardiola said of them: "I do admire that generation of players. They have done so well over the last seven years and have got into so many semi-finals and finals... that's not easy so I do admire what they have achieved."

Chelsea have won nine of Di Matteo's 12 games in charge, aided by Lampard (33), Drogba (34) and John Terry (31).

Despite being four points behind leaders Real Madrid, Barcelona have played some of the best football the world has ever seen this year and with the likes of Andres Iniesta, Xavi and, of course, Lionel Messi, it is easy to see why they are overwhelming favourites to progress.

But Chelsea's recent resurgence under Di Matteo has left Guardiola with much to worry about, it seems.

Guardiola added: "They have John Terry, Ashley Cole, Frank Lampard, Michael Essien, Didier Drogba... They are players who have had thousands and thousands of adventures.

"Maybe they do not have the consistency in the league but in competitions like this they are one of the best teams in the world."

Referring to Chelsea's 5-1 win over their rivals at Wembley on Sunday, Guardiola added: "I saw what they did against Tottenham.

"Everyone wants to beat Barcelona and play well against us, because we are the current holders but I am struggling to see how we are going to hurt them and how we are going to create chances to score goals."

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