Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola has dismissed the suggestion that Chelsea heads into their Champions League semifinal showdown gunning for revenge after its controversial exit at the hands of the Blaugrana at the same stage of the competition three years ago.
An injury-time equalizer from Andres Iniesta denied the Blues a place in the 2009 tournament decider on the away goals rule, but the Catalans' coach does not feel that Roberto Di Matteo's men will be using that experience as an extra source of motivation in Wednesday night's first-leg clash at Stamford Bridge.
"I do not think Chelsea are playing for revenge, but to be in the final," Guardiola told reporters at a press conference on Tuesday. "What you have lost in football, is lost. Chelsea have spirit and the same core team from 2009 and this generation of footballers [that they have] is unique. It's admirable.
"And it will be more complicated this time around. We're the reigning champions now and a good team want to beat us. In addition, few teams can execute counterattacks [like Chelsea]."
Guardiola also insisted that there was no chance of his players being distracted from the task at hand, even though the hype is already building back in Catalunya ahead of this weekend's crucial Clasico clash with La Liga leaders Real Madrid.
"We're playing against one of the best teams in Europe [in Chelsea] and we have to focus on this match," the 41-year-old coach declared. "After tomorrow, we can think about Saturday."
Barcelona's eagerly-awaited meeting with Chelsea kicks off in London at 2:45 p.m. ET.
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