Fenerbahce captain Alex told skysports.com Chelsea will face a hostile atmosphere in Istanbul.
Last Updated: 02/04/08 6:50pm
Chelsea face a tough trip to Istanbul for Wednesday night's UEFA Champions League quarter-final first leg.
Not only because of Fenerbahce's strong home record, but also because the Sukru Saracoglu Stadium is renowned for its intimidating atmosphere.
And the Istanbul club's captain and talisman, Alex, feels that will be a distinct advantage.
Ahead of the first leg, live on Sky Sports 3, he told skysports.com: "We know the first leg is fundamental for our hopes, we need to get a great result here, otherwise Chelsea will have it in their hands for the second leg in London.
"Playing at home is a big boost for us since we have the best supporters in Europe.
"You get to the stadium and feel already the positive atmosphere; you hear the supporters and know they will be there for you if something goes wrong during the game.
"Fenerbahce fans are the most fanatical supporters I've ever seen and it does help the team. I reckon Scottish supporters are great as well, but I still have to see with my own eyes a stadium with a better atmosphere than ours."
And the Brazil international, capped 55 times, believes his side have a chance, despite being underdogs as they were for the last-16 match-up with Sevilla, which Fenerbahce came through on penalties.
"I think we do have a chance of beating Chelsea. Obviously they are, right now, more confident than Liverpool or Arsenal, for example, who are facing each other.
"Yes, Chelsea are the clear favourites against us, as Sevilla were. The first leg is so important for our hopes."
Turkish Super League's top scorer with 19 goals last season, has continued that fine form this term, most notably in the Champions League when he scored a superb long-range strike against CSKA Moscow in the group stages.
And the playmaker will be heading into the first leg against Chelsea fresh from bagging both goals that saw Fenerbahce defeat rivals Besiktas and consolidate their place at the top of the league.
"Zico plays a 4-4-1-1 system," continued Alex, "giving me complete freedom ahead to play behind our sole striker."
And what of his coach, Zico: a former Brazil international himself, largely regarded as one of the finest players of his generation.
"Zico is a very calm guy and believes we are the ones who have to take decisions on the pitch; this fact allows our Brazilian style to appear."
One Chelsea player familiar with Alex is former Fenerbahce striker Nicolas Anelka, a player the Brazilian believes his team will have to watch closely, if he plays.
"I like Anelka; it was easy to play with him here in Fenerbahce. He is strong, fast and very complete.
"His career speaks for himself; as soon as he left our side he was already scoring in England and then he moved to Chelsea. When he is fit, he is one of the best strikers in the world.
"It is difficult for me to say who we should be aware of on Chelsea's side. We don't know who is going to play and they have some 20 or 22 very high-level players.
"There are too many options and they are spectacular players and experienced as well, since all of them played important games for their clubs and national teams."
Watch live coverage of Fenerbahce v Chelsea, 7.30pm, Wednesday, Sky Sports 3