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" I believe in fate. This was written a long time ago "Players views on CL win


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The Times

Beaten 3-1 by Napoli in Italy and with their manager, André Villas-Boas, on the verge of being sacked, in early March Chelsea looked as far from winning the Champions League as they had at any time since Roman Abramovich bought the club almost a decade previously.

FRANK LAMPARD: "Naples was just a horrible night. The dressing room afterwards was really, really low. I have been there a few times before, as every player has, where you want it to turn around, but its very hard to turn it around quickly. It was a very low place.

"There were a few token shouts on the flight home that we were still in it, but the heart wasnt saying the same thing at the time. It took a lot of character from the club to get over that not just individuals, but the manager who came in, the owner, who made the decision. Those werent easy decisions and it wasnt easy to turn things around, but we managed to do it."

With Villas-Boas sacked and his assistant, Roberto Di Matteo, appointed as manager, Chelsea beat Napoli 4-1 at Stamford Bridge before overcoming Benfica in the quarter-finals. A narrow victory against Barcelona at home was followed up by somehow recovering from two goals down in the Nou Camp to draw 2-2, despite losing John Terry to a red card.

JUAN MATA: "When you play against Barcelona, you talk to the coach about how you can compete. You reach the conclusion that there is a way you can beat them, if you are effective in taking your chances, as we were. My job was to play on the right, to close off the wing and generate counter-attacks. When Terry was sent off, we were losing, a man down. We thought it would be very, very hard.

"Ramiress goal [shortly before half-time] gave us life. That goal changed everything. After I came off, I didnt want to look. I was sure they were going to beat us. You see the chances, them getting closer, and you think they will score. When Fernando [Torres] scored to put us through, we just exploded."

PETR CECH: "Maybe it is destiny. This is why everyone loves football, because things happen that you just cannot explain. Your season looks to be in trouble, then you have an amazing run in the Champions League. Nobody from the outside believed we could make it past Barcelona. Even after the first leg, nobody believed. But we have just beaten the best team in the world. Now we believe anything is possible.

"Before the second leg of the Napoli game, when André had to leave the club and everything was kind of going badly, I said to my wife, You will see, an amazing thing will happen if we win [the second leg]. I told her we would win it all.

"The previous seven years, when we had been playing well and marching through the league, coming close to winning titles, we had never had any luck in the Champions League. Now everything was going wrong the manager had left but this time the luck came in Europe. You could kind of feel something was happening."

Chelsea would need that optimism. The task in hand was, perhaps, harder even than the one they had faced in Catalonia: Bayern Munich, in the German clubs stadium, with the biggest trophy club football has to offer at stake, and four players suspended: Ramires, Branislav Ivanovic and Raul Meireles for bookings against Barcelona, and Terry for his red card in the Nou Camp.

STEVE HOLLAND (the assistant first-team coach): "Myself and Roberto flew to Berlin a week before the game to see the German Cup final. It was a really fruitful trip and we even had the privilege of using the owners private jet, to go door-to-door in a day.

"Borussia Dortmund beat Bayern 5-2, playing a 4-4-1-1 [system]. They double-banked in the wide areas to stop Franck Ribéry and Arjen Robben. We saw that and thought that was the way for us to go. That was when we first thought that Ryan Bertrand, who would make his Champions League debut in the final, was really an option."

LAMPARD: "It was a great trip because the city was brilliant, but it was a strange trip. There was a real quiet confidence. You talk about that fate feeling. Nobody wants to call that before the game, but we felt confident. The dressing room was quite subdued. It was probably a focus thing, where youre thinking, We have a game to play. "

HOLLAND: "There was a genuine belief in the squad that, having come so close on so many occasions over so many years, the gods were smiling on us. You always need that in any competition, that little bit of luck. But there was a belief about the players. There was nervous tension, of course it is the biggest game any player can play in but there was a belief, too."

LAMPARD: "Once we got on to the pitch, though, it was quite surreal. Bayern were having so many chances and we were just trying to dig in. For Barcelona in the Nou Camp, we defended the edge of our own box through any means possible. I think maybe, because of that experience, we became a bit entrenched against Bayern. As soon as the game started, we sat back a bit and called them on to us.

"We had Ramires, our best player of the season, suspended, John Terry was, too, and Ivanovic as well, who had been our second-best player that season. So we went in knowing that there was an element of containing we had to do. It was not a great performance, but the spirit of the defending gives you a warm feeling inside."

By half-time Chelsea were clinging on as Bayern swarmed all over Di Matteos makeshift central defensive pairing of David Luiz and Gary Cahill. It was much the same throughout the second half. With seven minutes of the match to go, their resistance crumbled as Thomas Mller gave Bayern the lead. It looked yet another missed opportunity for Chelsea in Europe, until Didier Drogba, with two minutes left, rose to nod Matas corner past Manuel Neuer and take the game to extra time.

CECH: "When we conceded, it was Barcelona that came into our minds. We had ten minutes to score, or whatever it was, but we had done it in Barcelona when we were down to ten men. We believed we could do anything."

drogba: "What I have learnt from eight years at this club is that Chelsea never give up. Juan Mata said to me at half-time that, even if we went behind, we would score. It was fate. I believe a lot in destiny. I pray a lot. This was written a long time ago. The equaliser changed the game."

LAMPARD: "Only once we got the Drogba goal did I start to think, Hang on a minute, this could be our night. I was desperate for penalties, which says it all. Youre never normally desperate for penalties. I thought they were certainly our best avenue [to win] by the time we got to extra time.

CECH: "I had seen all the penalties Bayern had taken since 2007. It took me two hours to go through it. Id had the DVD for four or five days, but was being kind of lazy. I thought it would not go to penalties, but the flight took two hours so for the whole of the flight I watched it. In the last ten minutes I was praying for penalties. The way the game went, they had really good chances and we were hanging on."

It did eventually go to penalties, although only because Cech, his homework paying off, saved a spot-kick from Robben in extra time. If that was a clue that fate was on Chelseas side, the shoot-out suggested as much. Mata missed the English teams first kick, but when Cech denied Ivica Olic and Bastian Schweinsteiger hit a post, Chelsea had their moment. It was left to Drogba, in what would prove to be his last game for the club, to roll the ball past Neuer and make Chelsea kings of Europe. Lampard, alongside the suspended Terry, lifted the trophy.

JOHN TERRY: "Uefa did the right thing letting me and the other suspended players be involved, because that is something that is going to live with me for ever. If that had been taken away, it would have been really hard for me to take. Credit to Uefa, because I have seen other players miss out on that opportunity. Over the years we have had our arguments with them [European footballs governing body], but this was the right decision. I am lost for words."

LAMPARD: "Looking back, it was madness. All the shots they were having. It was the most beautiful thing in my career by a long, long way. Because we had waited so long for it. Because it came in completely different circumstances to what we would have expected. Other years, I might have thought we were going to win the Champions League. This year, if Im honest, I didnt.

"I couldnt get over the whole thing. I couldnt get over the fact that, in the final, on Bayerns ground, we had hung on in there with four people on their last legs through injury. I had cramp. You know what? The group we had was so strong. The group that had been here for years: me, Didier, Petr, JT, people like Paulo Ferreira. We were all so desperate to win it. And when youre desperate, its an unbelievable emotion."

TERRY: "It was incredible in the dressing room. The owner came in and said a few words. Didier said a few words, too. Sometimes it is meant to be, and Didier deserves that."

HOLLAND: "There is an element of privacy that must be respected, and a dressing room is a private place. The scene was as you would expect: one of absolute delight, but a lot of the players sitting quietly, taking it all in.

"The owner came in, along with all of the players and staff. It was a surreal moment, with people torn between celebrating and assessing the moment, especially for those guys who had been so close so many times. Is it true that Didier put the trophy on a table and addressed it? Its safe to say he had a major impact on proceedings after the final whistle."

LAMPARD: "We were on the pitch for ages, just enjoying it with the fans. In the dressing room we were there for an hour and a half or two hours, just having a beer. Drogba was play-acting, like he does, with his personality. That was probably my favourite bit of it, those two hours in the dressing room, where we all took a gasp and realised what we had done."

HOLLAND: "We did not leave the dressing room for what felt like an eternity. There were a lot of kids milling around, players and the staffs. It was an incredible moment for everyone involved. It seemed to go on for hours. The cup was handed round from one group of players to the others, and everyone took photos, players and staff and their families.

"It was well into the early hours when we left the ground. We went back to the hotel, where all the players met up with their families. There was food laid on, a bite to eat. And then some retired, just to take it all in, and others partied on into the early hours, without really sleeping. There was an open-top roof deck on the hotel and the weather was pleasant. One or two members of staff may have ended up in the pool at various times in the morning."

BRUCE BUCK (the chairman): "Who slept with the trophy? The club secretary, David Barnard. Because if it got lost, it would be his fault."

The next morning Chelsea, champions of Europe, flew from Munich back to London, where they went on an open-top bus parade to show off the spoils of victory to about half a million delirious supporters.

HOLLAND: "I had been on the open-top bus with Carlo Ancelotti when his side won the double in 2010. That was the most incredible day of my life, but this surpassed it. To see so many hundreds of thousands of people all celebrating that historic moment.

"If you think of how many years the club has been around, and this was the first time it had ever been done, it shows just how special an achievement it was. We were all awake and alive on adrenalin. After that bus parade, I know a lot of the players went home and slept for two or three days. We were all exhausted."

How the times covered it: Oliver Kay, May 19, 2012

Nobody was calling Chelsea the best team in Europe. Nobody was saying they had, over the course of 120 minutes, played better than Bayern Munich. All Frank Lampard was asking, on his way out of the Allianz Arena, was that people recognise the character that he and his team-mates had shown to become Champions League winners.

And what character. What bloody-minded resilience and determination they have shown in the 12 weeks since they returned from Naples with their season, and seemingly their future, in disarray.

It is not unreasonable to suggest that this was the fourth consecutive Champions League match in which Chelsea had been outplayed but Lampard and his team-mates have never been outfought. Whenever adversity reared its head, they have pulled together stronger and produced the kind of response that leaves you wondering if a superhuman force has taken hold.

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It's a good read. And it just brings it all back. :)

Thanks m8, i will do then, love anything that brings back that moment... In fact, i find the best tonic to ease any pain from the current season is to watch the highlights of that champions league campaign as it really puts a smile on your face.

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Thanks m8, i will do then, love anything that brings back that moment... In fact, i find the best tonic to ease any pain from the current season is to watch the highlights of that champions league campaign as it really puts a smile on your face.

Same with me. I have a playlist of youtube videos I like to watch whenever something goes wrong with our current season.

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I don't belive in gods or kings. I believe in man. This was no act of providence, there were no little strings pulling the hands of men. The players won this because they were superior.


Regardless, it wan interesting read.

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I don't belive in gods or kings. I believe in man. This was no act of providence, there were no little strings pulling the hands of men. The players won this because they were superior.

Regardless, it wan interesting read.

Exactly, fuck the destiny talk. Chelsea won because Chelsea wanted it the most.

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Exactly, fuck the destiny talk. Chelsea won because Chelsea wanted it the most.

People have different beliefs though. Some people believe in destiny and God, and some don't. I just think it's best to respect other people's views. But all of that is opinion

The one fact we do know is that Chelsea wanted it most, like you said. :)

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People have different beliefs though. Some people believe in destiny and God, and some don't. I just think it's best to respect other people's views. But all of that is opinion

The one fact we do know is that Chelsea wanted it most, like you said. :)

Nah of course I respect that. I don't believe in that though and so my view is different.

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Nah of course I respect that. I don't believe in that though and so my view is different.

Exactly. :)

Even if you or don't believe in it though, I can't help but think about the players who do believe in destiny and God. Let's take Drogba for example, how did his beliefs affect him and his performance? I don't think he would have been as committed if it wasn't for his beliefs, but of course his mentality as a person ties into it too.

I wonder, would Drogba have scored so many vital goals in finals for is had it not been for his beliefs? Especially that goal in the Champions League final. So in a sense, it's quite possible that destiny helped us in that way.

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I wonder, would Drogba have scored so many vital goals in finals for is had it not been for his beliefs? Especially that goal in the Champions League final. So in a sense, it's quite possible that destiny helped us in that way.

Interesting, but then that's Drogba's belief in destiny helping out, not destiny itself.

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Interesting, but then that's Drogba's belief in destiny helping out, not destiny itself.

True, but it's an interesting thought nonetheless. :)

But had the concept of destiny not existed, Drogba's belief in it would not have existed, which could have had a different effect on him and our results. It's more of an interesting though than anything else though, it's not fact of course.

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i think this is really great to read ^_^

not just bring back emotion

but to know in depth, behind the moment and little from backroom too

what is in player mind and mental state in the pre and post game, from the napoli 2nd leg

the up and down mentality during the match, ,how the player try what they can do and to keep believing

player emotion when lifting trophy and what that meant for the player :tiphat::yes:

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