Lampard hails battling Blues

Frank Lampard saluted Chelsea's spirit as the Blues fought back from the brink to reach the UEFA Champions League semi-finals after a remarkable 4-4 draw against Liverpool to win 7-5 on aggregate.

Guus Hiddink's side were twice one goal away from blowing their 3-1 first leg lead at Stamford Bridge as Liverpool led 2-0 and 4-3. But Lampard scored a last-minute curler - his second goal of the match - to finally send Chelsea through to a semi-final clash against Barcelona.

Sometimes you have to lose your temper a bit, but they reacted. The players also knew it was not OK how they had played.
Chelsea coach Guus Hiddink on his heated teamtalk at the half against Liverpool

"It was a great game of football. We made it hard for ourselves and Liverpool are a fantastic team. But it's great, we're through," Lampard said. "Our character at half-time, to turn it around, says a lot about the players."

Hiddink admitted Chelsea's lacklustre first half display had made him lose his temper with his players for the first time since replacing Luiz Felipe Scolari. "We were angry at half-time because we didn't start as we planned. We know playing against Liverpool you can't give them space," the coach said. "We dropped back too much, we were too safe. At half-time we said 'guys this is not the way we are going to play in the second half.'

"Sometimes you have to lose your temper a bit, but they reacted. The players as well knew it was not OK how they had played," he went on. "This team reacts, that is why I like working with them, and we know they can score. Happily we did early in the second half."

Classic contest
Hiddink was relieved to have emerged on the right side of one of Europe's greatest matches, even if it was bad for his health. "My heart-rate was too high during the match. You suffer a lot because you have a great desire to go through for the club," he said. "I have had some matches like this but this is one of those games when players have made lots of errors. That is why it was going from one end to the other.

"It was very dramatic," Hiddink added. "It was a wave of being in the game and also out of it. one moment we were up and the next down."

Chelsea striker Didier Drogba gave a superb second-half display to torment Liverpool's defence, but the Ivorian star knows Barcelona will pose another stern test. "It's going to be difficult but if we want to win the Champions League we have to play these big teams," he said.

Drogba conceded Chelsea had lost their cool in the first half because the defence wasn't secure enough. "We felt really down at half-time because we didn't play in the first half," he said. "Maybe we lost our nerve. I think the three goals we conceded against Bolton on Saturday were still in our heads."