Goals from Ramires and Fernando Torres saw the Blues come from behind to claim a dramatic victory over the two legs, despite being reduced to 10 men when captain John Terry was dismissed for a foul of Alexis Sanchez after just 37 minutes.
The England defender spoke to Sky Sports shortly after the final whistle, and when asked about if character helped them through, he said: “It was a lot, three to four months ago, no-one thought we had a chance, we lost a few games in the Premier League.
“But we had certain meetings, we got all the players together and said we always believe and we’re good enough to be here and I think we’ve proved that today.
“We’ve been lucky in spells in the game, but you can’t beat that desire and fight and spirit that you see out there today.”
In addition to their captain being given his marching orders, Roberto Di Matteo’s men also lost Gary Cahill to injury after just 12 minutes, leaving them with two makeshift central defenders, Jose Bosingwa and Branislac Ivanovic, for nearly an hour.
Cole said of losing the two stoppers: “It’s hard when you lose centre halves like that against a great team, we knew it was going to be hard but Branny [Ivanovic] went in from right back and Bosingwa came into centre-back which is brilliant.
“At the end of the day we all believed, not many people did, but us as a group of players did and this is what happens.”
Barcelona boasted over 70 per cent of possession throughout the 90 minutes, but wasteful passing and valiant defending from the away side continued halted the attacking intent.
Cole added: “It’s hard work, there was five or six players coming down my side, but we defended as a team, again got a bit lucky, Petr [Cech] made some great saves and a little bit of luck as well.”
Goalkeeper Cech believes, despite the Barcelona dominance and Lionel Messi missing a penalty, that the Blues deserved to advance to the final: “We scored the away goal and I think that was the key, twice we scored goals.
“We fought for 90 minutes in the first game, we were down to ten men and we did what we could and I think it was fantastic what we did and we got the reward for it because everybody 150 per cent for the team and to be fair we tried to survive and we survived pretty well.”
Chelsea will be missing a number of players for the final, with Ramires, Terry, Meireles and Ivanovic all picking suspensions during the second leg, with the latter calling his ban “unfortunate.
However, the defender mirrored his goalkeeper’s comments, adding: “It was a very difficult game, I think we do our best and we deserved to qualify.”