'Heroes to a man'
Jamie Redknapp feels Chelsea just produced the best display in Champions League history.
Last Updated: 25/04/12 9:08am
Jamie Redknapp described Chelsea's passage to the Champions League final as the greatest performance in the history of the competition.
Roberto Di Matteo's side overcame heavy favourites Barcelona to reach the final in Munich despite playing more than 50 minutes of Tuesday's second leg with 10 men following John Terry's first-half red card.
Chelsea were forced to adopt a central defensive pairing of Branislav Ivanovic and Jose Bosingwa in the second half following an earlier injury to Gary Cahill, but still managed to grind out a 2-2 draw that saw them go through 3-2 on aggregate.
And Sky Sports pundit Redkanpp said he felt privileged to witness their backs-to-the-walls performance.
He said: "This isn't just Chelsea's greatest night; this is the greatest night in Champions League history that I've ever seen from any team.
"To come here and play the way they did with the team they ended up with was absolutely remarkable.
"They're heroes to a man. I didn't give them any chance at half-time. I didn't see there was any way on earth they could keep a clean sheet in the second half.
"When you look at Ivanovic and Bosingwa, the two centre-halves, I thought they'd have struggled to keep a clean sheet in the Premier League, but to do that with Ramires in the equation at right-back was monumental."
Redknapp drew comparisons between the display in the Nou Camp and their defeat at Napoli in the last 16 when former boss Andre Villas-Boas left out many of his biggest stars.
And he said it was remarkable to see the team spirit that has been fostered by caretaker boss Di Matteo since then.
He added: "It's very difficult to put into words the collective spirit and confidence they showed.
"I can remember being in Naples and it was a team in disarray, there was absolute anarchy. The team was being leaked out of the dressing room and everybody was falling out. There was no Ashley Cole that day, there was no Frank Lampard, no Michael Essien and Didier Drogba and John Terry didn't play.
"To see that then and to see the team that played together and was pulling together today was completely different.
"I couldn't foresee it at that moment that this team could produce a performance like they did today."
Fellow Sky Sports expert Graeme Souness has won the European Cup three times and has claimed league titles and trophies - as a player and a manager - in countries across Europe.
But even he admitted he had never experienced a football match like the one he saw in the Nou Camp on Tuesday, describing it as the greatest night in Chelsea's history.
"I have never witnessed a game of football like that," he said.
"For Chelsea to come through over two games against this Barcelona team is incredible. Yeah, they didn't play a lot of football over two games but for resilience and a desire not to be beaten, that's as good as it gets.
"I think it's the most remarkable game I've ever seen. We've all seen 5-4 games, 4-4 draws and people scoring wonderful hat-tricks.
"The whole game was so absorbing. We're not being clever after the event but we were saying: 'they're going to do it, their name's on the cup, they're going to get through'.
"There was something about Chelsea tonight; a dogged determination that they weren't going to get beat. They just weren't going to get beat.
"I think this is the greatest night in Chelsea's history. They've gone through against a team that people, me included, are talking about as the best club side ever."