André Villas-Boas: Chelsea’s group is ‘extremely difficult’
Chelsea boss braced for tough tests in group stages of the Champions League ahead of Leverkusen clash
Chelsea manager André Villas-Boas is taking nothing for granted ahead of his side’s Champions League group stage opener against Bayer Leverkusen on Wednesday.
The Blues host the Bundesliga runners-up at Stamford Bridge this week before taking on their other Group E opponents, Belgian champions Genk and Spanish side Valencia.
And Villas-Boas has warned his team that there will be no easy points as the Portuguese coach prepares to make his Champions League bow with the Premier League side.
“It’s an extremely difficult group in my opinion,” said Villas-Boas. “We all saw what Valencia did last season. They are very, very regular in the Champions League in terms of performance and in terms the quality players they have. They are a top team.
“The Belgian champions [Genk] have lost some talent, with [Thibaut] Courtois, who joined us and went on loan to Atlético Madrid, but they have some good talent available.
“Bayer Leverkusen have a strong emotional impact after being present in a Champions League final [in 2002], and always want to perform well. They Lost [Arturo] Vidal to Juventus [this summer] but they have quality players as well.”
2011 Champions League groups
Group A: Bayern Munich, Villarreal, Manchester City, Napoli.
Group B: Inter, CSKA Moscow, Lille, Trabzonspor.
Group C: Manchester United, Benfica, Basel, Otelul Galati.
Group D: Real Madrid, Lyon, Ajax, Dinamo Zagreb.
Group E: Chelsea, Valencia, Bayer Leverkusen, Genk.
Group F: Arsenal, Marseille, Olympiakos, Borussia Dortmund.
Group G: FC Porto, Shakhtar, Zenit, APOEL.
Group H: Barcelona, AC Milan, BATE, Viktoria Plzen.