Defender Gary Cahill put a halt to Chelsea’s celebrations by reminding his team-mates they have achieved nothing yet despite their impressive 1-0 win over Barcelona.
Didier Drogba scored deep into first-half injury-time to give the Blues a narrow lead in their Champions League semi-final.
The Londoners rode their luck at times, and Barca enjoyed an incredible 72% of possession, but the fact that they suppressed the magical talents of Lionel Messi, Xavi and Andres Iniesta has given the club a belief they can upset the odds in Tuesday’s second leg at the Nou Camp.
Pep Guardiola’s side have a mightily impressive record at the Nou Camp – they have not lost there since September 2010 – and Cahill has warned Chelsea they still have a huge mountain to climb before they can reach what would be only their second Champions League final.
“It was a fantastic result but it’s only half-time,” Cahill said.
“I thought as a team tonight we were well organised. Everyone was on the same page.
“The gaffer gave us a game plan before the game and we stuck to it. It worked really well, but it’s half-time and it’s going to be really hard over there but it’s a good start for us.”
Cahill has found himself in and out of the Chelsea team since he transferred from Bolton in January, but the England centre-back put in a potentially career-defining performance to stop the likes of Messi and his strike partner Alexis Sanchez.
The former Bolton man, playing only due to David Luiz’s hamstring injury, was outstanding, putting in tackle after tackle, the most notable of which was in the second half when he hooked the ball away from Messi as the 63-goal hitman was about to pull the trigger.
The tackle led to an outburst of “there’s only one Gary Cahill” from the home support – the first time that has happened since his move to Stamford Bridge.
“I could hear that being sung and it was obviously tremendous and a proud moment for me,” Cahill added.
“You can’t get the ball off him (Messi) can you?! Even if you have four or five surrounding him, but I managed to get the tackle in.”
Barca returned to Spain feeling hard done by. The Spaniards had 23 attempts at goal compared to Chelsea’s three and were thwarted by the woodwork and an excellent performance by Petr Cech.
Pedro and Sanchez struck the frame of Chelsea’s goal while Cesc Fabregas and Sergio Busquets both squandered easy chances to grab a vital away goal.
Cahill admits Chelsea may have been lucky not to concede, but praised the way the home side maintained their shape and discipline.
“Defensively, I thought as a team everyone stood up to their task and the reason we won was because of the concentration levels,” he said.
“The shape was a bit more defensive than we are used to but you have to play like that considering the amount of possession that they have.
“There’s always an element of luck you have to ride against them but we stuck to our task.”