28 April 2009

Hiddink confident Bosingwa can shackle Messi

Guus Hiddink is confident that Jose Bosingwa can effectively shackle Barcelona winger Lionel Messi in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final in the Nou Camp.The subject of how to stop Messi has dominated the pre-match build-up following the suspension of England left-back Ashley Cole.It has left Chelsea without a recognised replacement following the sale of Wayne Bridge to Manchester City in January and an untimely knee ligament injury to Paulo Ferreira.The answer for the Dutchman is to place his faith in the Portugal international.Normally a right-back, Bosingwa switched to the other flank in the win over West Ham on Saturday but Argentina international Messi, scorer of 21 goals so far this season, is certain to provide him with more problems than Luis Boa Morte.The Barca winger is now rated among the best in the world but Hiddink remains confident that Bosingwa's vast European and international experience will nullify his threat."At a young age, Messi is one of the best players in the world already," said Hiddink. "He is the kind of player who is playing in a big club because of his style of play."He had big promise and within a short period he has made it happen completely."I like very much the way he plays, he does like the stardom of playing and it's very effective. It looks very simple but it is very difficult."But I have full confidence that Bosingwa can do it the job tomorrow. We have some more options, but if he is doing well he can do the job."If you go to a double man-marking system and focus too much on that you forget there are other big players that can do the damage."But it is not just Messi who can ruin Chelsea's dreams of returning to Stamford Bridge with a good result. Thierry Henry and Samuel Eto'o are equally as potent and Hiddink knows it only too well."A lot of teams have shown that it is very difficult to stop them," said Hiddink. "The front line is world class, Henry has class and experience and Samuel Eto'o I had as a young player at Real Madrid when he was 17. At that time he was already impressive and then he then got titles and experience."Hiddink insists he has already played out the first-leg tie in his head and in team meetings, and the outcome has always been a victory. But the Dutchman knows that sometimes all the best laid plans can go awry."You try to analyse what can happen and whether it is within your power to prevent them playing well and for us to be dangerous."I said I'd never lost a match in preparation and meetings, but sometimes the reality is more cruel."Chelsea and Liverpool produced one of the most exhilarating matches ever seen in the Champions League when they drew 4-4 in the quarter final, second leg at Stamford Bridge a fortnight ago.Chelsea secured their semi-final spot 7-5 on aggregate after fighting back from two down at the interval and Hiddink hinted there could be more exciting times ahead at the Nou Camp."Both teams have the style to attack when they can," said Hiddink. "Chelsea is not a team with a strategy to sit back and wait until something happens."The team is showing a lot of initiative. It is more or less an open clash between two teams who like to go forward."Barca are the only non-English club left in the last four of Europe's top club competition for the second year in a row.The 2006 champions lost 1-0 on aggregate to eventual winners Manchester United in last year's semi-finals thanks to a Paul Scholes strike early in the second leg in England.With the exception of long-term injury absentee Gabriel Milito, coach Pep Guardiola has a full squad to choose from following the Primera Liga leaders' 2-2 draw at fourth-placed Valencia on Saturday."We have to rest and recover well because we are about to begin the most important week of the year," the former Barca and Spain midfielder said."I did not see any tiredness in the players," he added. "We are like a machine."Midfielder Seydou Keita said the Barca players were well acquainted with their opponents and singled out Chelsea's physical presence as their main strength."The coach is doing some great work in preparing us for the match," the Mali international said at a news conference."He makes us watch a lot of the other team's games and we analyse their weak points and the dangers we could face."

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