Chelsea's conviction that they can eliminate Manchester United from the Champions League this season will not be eroded by memories of their defeat to the same opponents in the final three years ago, with Petr Cech insistent that United did not "win" in Moscow but merely enjoyed "more luck in the penalty shootout".
United visit Stamford Bridge on Wednesday for the first leg of this year's quarter-final having failed to prevail at Chelsea in almost nine years, and having lost, albeit narrowly, in west London a little over a month ago. That record offers Carlo Ancelotti's side hope of progress, with the European Cup their principal objective after the draw at Stoke City on Saturday left them 11 points adrift of the leaders in the title race.
"We still go into that game with confidence because our record against Manchester United in recent years is very good, especially at home," said Cech, who had saved from Cristiano Ronaldo in the penalty shootout in Moscow only for the Londoners to succumb 6-5.
"We go into the game thinking it could be the advantage, playing at home, and if we get a good result we'll be in a good position going to Old Trafford.
"Moscow was three years back now. I think they won the game – or, rather, they didn't really win it. They had more luck in the shootout than we had. So what's in the past is in the past. We are looking forward to the future and we hope this time it will be us who go through. I think it will be an advantage that we know their players and their team," he added, "and going to Old Trafford for the second game we will not discover anything new. We've played there many times and won there last season, so we can be positive."
Ancelotti is expected to retain Didier Drogba from the start against United after the Ivorian's impressive display at Stoke, but the Italian must decide whether Drogba will be partnered by Fernando Torres – the Spain striker still without a goal since his £50m move from Liverpool, but a scourge of United in the past – or Nicolas Anelka. The Frenchman has scored seven times in the competition this season to stake his claim to start, with Ancelotti intent upon securing a lead with which to travel north for next week's second leg.
"The players are in good condition, psychologically and physically," said the Italian. "We shouldn't forget how well we played at Stoke, because we created chances there and our performance was good. The condition we showed was good enough to play at our best against United. Didier scored the winner against them [in the league at Old Trafford] last April, we know, and he can start the game because he is in good condition, but we must focus.
"These ties will not be played like normal Premier League games. This is over 180 minutes, not 90, and we must concentrate if we're going to get through."
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