The Champions League has been the Holy Grail at Chelsea ever since Abramovich bought the club nine years ago and with reports of a mass clearout this summer, captain John Terry has admitted this season could be the last chance for many of his team-mates to achieve European glory.
Speaking ahead of tonight’s Champions League second round second leg clash with Napoli, Terry said: “Naturally, we have players out of contract and players in negotiation with their current contracts. I’m hoping many stay and many come in.”
And after so many near misses in the competition, Terry could be forgiven for thinking Chelsea are cursed.
He said: “Listen, we don’t feel cursed. We’ve been unfortunate in previous big nights here.
“You need a quality team to go on and win this competition, allied with a bit of luck which we’ve missed out on.
“But I know we’ve still got an abundance of quality here, and the determination [is] buzzing around that dressing room to make this happen.”
Terry admitted Chelsea would take inspiration from Arsenal almost overturning a four-goal deficit against AC Milan last week as they aimed to prevent English football suffering its worst Champions League season since 1996.
He said: “Arsenal pushed it as close as they possibly could. They went out, and we’re the last side.
“Robbie (Roberto Di Matteo) has spoken about this not being the last Champions League game at the Bridge this year.”
He added: “Getting off to a good start may be a key factor. If not, we’ve got the experience and patience as well to know that it takes only a few minutes to score two goals.”
Terry also hailed Fabio Capello for backing him to the hilt during the England captaincy saga that led to the Italian’s shock resignation.
Capello quit as manager last month after the Football Association stripped Terry of the armband ahead of his trial where he is accused of racially abusing QPR defender Anton Ferdinand.
Terry, who denies any wrongdoing, spoke for the first time about Capello’s departure.
The Blues had requested no questions on England but, when asked about Capello by an Italian journalist, Terry was unable to bite his tongue.
“Quite clearly, Fabio backed me,” he said.
“That comes from a relationship with myself and him, the relationship we built up.
“I stood for him on the football pitch, and he stood up for me off the pitch.
“I respect that from him, I respect him as a man and for what he did for me. Complete respect both ways.”
Meanwhile Napoli are determined not to fall into the same trap Arsenal sprung on AC Milan.
“It’s important we don’t do anything different to what we usually do,” Mazzarri said.
“If we changed the way we played, that would be a risk.
“But I don’t think my team can underestimate the importance of a game like this.”
He added: “When we don’t have the ball, we must be like 11 lions, attacking them constantly to get it back. When we have the ball, we must do everything we can to put them under pressure.”
Star striker Edinson Cavani, who scored a controversial goal in the first leg, said: “We know what to expect and what they can do.
“We saw in the Arsenal against Milan match that a team full of champions can change a tie in a few minutes.”
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