‘The big difference was that when you were at Barcelona, you were the favourites to win every single time, but when we approached that game at Chelsea we were not the favourites.’
In truth, the sub-plots proved to be far more intriguing than what occurred on the pitch, as an uneven surface was hardly conducive to flowing football and the action spluttered along rather than ebbing and flowing as one would have hoped.
Real, though, undoubtedly had the better of the first half. Raul blasted over early on and there was a huge let-off when Fernando Hierro struck the woodwork from a free-kick. Casiraghi went closest for Chelsea when he attempted to meet a low cross, but the sides went in goalless at the break and a big part of that was the performance of Chelsea’s centre-back pairing, which surprisingly included youngster Michael Duberry instead of new signing Marcel Desailly, who instead lined up in midfield.
‘I thought I’d miss this game,’ said Doobs. ‘We’d signed Marcel in the summer and when we were training in Monaco, Luca pulled me to one side. I thought it was the moment he was going to tell me I’m not playing, but he said, “For what you did for me last season, I’m going to reward you – you’re playing tonight, and Marcel’s in midfield.”’