The much anticipated encounter between Barca and Chelsea has meant the usual war of words between the managers. No use going into that.
Barca decided to take the sensible approach of practising on the poor pitch yesterday as they are to play the match there itself. Chelsea were bemused Barca wanted to practise on that pitch despite compaining about the obvious poor pitch and offering Barca their own facilities. Well was it that difficult for Chelsea to understand Barca wanted to adjust as much as possible to the difficult conditions?
Chelsea went out of their way to complain to FA when Barca wanted to practise 15 minutes extra and denied Barca practising more than an hour. I do see the concerned Chelsea over the obvious Barca threat in all this.
Barca plays a free flowing game and uses one touch passes. This means the smoother the pitch, the better it is for the club. As Puyol said:
The state of the pitch will affect us more. We like to move the ball quickly and play at a high tempo. Weâ€™re not used to playing in these conditions. If we concentrate hard and not give the ball away in midfield where Chelsea are strong we should be able to cope. There are no excuses. We are experienced enough to play on all kinds of surfaces.
Chelsea made sure the pitch was further watered on Tuesday. So the conditions will very tough for Barcelona despite Rijkaard taking the diplomatic route in his response:
Chelsea will be affected by the pitch just a much as ourselves. They have quality players with good technique and skill and they would prefer a better pitch. We are not complaining.
As a Barca fan I will be rooting for the Catalanians. But it will be very tough in the first leg.