Petr Cech claims Chelsea are hungrier than Manchester United for Champions League glory.
The Blues goalkeeper will line up against United in tomorrow night’s all-English final in Moscow.
He believes losing out to Alex Ferguson’s men in the race for the Barclays Premier League title will work in his side’s favour.
“Having won the title, you would say it’s a big boost from them and they celebrated, which in one way can be distracting,” Cech told BBC’s Inside Sport Programme.
“When you know you’ve already won something, even if you don’t want to, you can relax. In the back of your mind, you have already that you have succeeded. This could be the advantage for us.”
Cech is expecting a tight game tomorrow because the two sides know each other so well.
“If you ask me if we can surprise each other, I say no, because we have played them so many times over the last years and both teams haven’t changed much,” he said.
However, he is wary of the one player most likely to produce the unexpected, Cristiano Ronaldo, who already has 41 United goals to his name this season.
“The way he scores the goals is unbelievable,” Cech said.
“Because he can score from the free-kick, he can score from the penalty, he can score with a header from a corner, and he can score with both feet.”
However, the keeper added: “You need to remember as well they have a great team. They have an attacking threat, with (Wayne) Rooney, you’ve got (Carlos) Tevez, you’ve got (Ryan) Giggs.
“They can use the ball quickly and they change position, they rotate a lot. That is why they are dangerous and can score a lot of goals because not everyone can cope with that.”
Chelsea’s style of play is often compared unfavourably to that of United and Arsenal, but Cech insists winning silverware is all the matters in the long-term.
“In the end, they will all remember only the years with the trophies,” he said.
“I don’t think people will say ’I remember the Arsenal squad between 2004 and 2008’. They never won anything. So maybe in 10 years’ time, no-one will remember.”
Cech, widely considered one of the world’s best goalkeepers, has recently been linked with a big-money move away from Stamford Bridge.
However, he said: “I have still two years at Chelsea. I’m very happy here. I hope to be here as long as I can.”