Chelsea shot-stopper Petr Cech claims that his have the experience and the courage to push through to the next round of the Champions League, although he admits that their quarter-final tie against Manchester United remains in the balance.
The Czech Republic international believes that attitude and mental preparation will play a pivotal role in the two ties.
“Going into the game with Man United for us is really a 50-50 game because they have the same experience of playing in the Champions League quarter-finals as we have, and the team who plays with more courage and confidence will go through,” Cech told ITV.
“I think courage [is more important]. You can play against a team which on the paper is not as strong as you, as you can see for example Tottenham - Real Madrid. Compare those [and it is] easy [for] Real Madrid because they’ve got the experience, they’ve got big players and it’s Real Madrid, and Tottenham is playing the Champions League for the first time.
“Of course the experience helps, but if you have everybody playing with the courage and the confidence then experience is not everything.”
Cech also reflected on why Chelsea have been the better of the two sides in recent years, suggesting that a good home run has been crucial, and he believes a win at Old Trafford could also be on the cards.
“We were better in those games, so we hope that we can repeat that again," he said. "Last season we beat them 1-0 at home, we won at Old Trafford which was not easy, we won again at home in the league this year.
"Of course they won the Community Shield, but overall we know we have a very good record against them at home since I have been here.
“We are always going into the game very positive at home, and everybody has been saying that it’s a pity we play the first leg at home and the second leg at Old Trafford but I think this time it could be contrary to that and it could be our advantage because we know we are confident of beating them at home and we know we can get a good result away.”
The goalkeeper admitted he is still taken aback that the club have never won Europe's top prize, and reiterates that Carlo Ancelotti’s current squad have the quality to go all the way, but it remains up to them to produce the winning performance.
He continued: “Obviously the Champions League trophy is missing. It’s really hard to believe that such a great team as we have been for years that we haven’t won it yet. We’ve got the quality, and the experience, to win the Champions League.”
“It’s up to us, we know what kind of challenges are ahead and hopefully we are ready.”
The Czech, who tasted bitter defeat in the 2008 final in Moscow against United on penalties, also spoke of the fateful evening.
“In one word, disappointment, I would say because going to the final in 2008 we had been three times in the semi-finals and obviously we were very happy to have gone [through] to the final,” said Cech.
“We were looking forward to the game, we knew the opposition - we knew them from playing them in the league – and we were ready to go ahead and win the game.”
He added: "When JT [John Terry] kicked the last penalty I saw the goalkeeper [Van der Sar] diving the other way, so I thought it was done.
"But when I saw the ball go past the goal and behind I couldn’t understand what happened, because from my angle I couldn’t really see that it had hit the post and gone out. I saw the ball going in and I thought that was the moment, but obviously it was not."