Photo: uefa.com

Outgoing Chelsea assistant manager Steve Holland has revealed that Chelsea didn’t win the Champions League in 2012 by luck.

Chelsea had to overcome all odds to defeat Bayern Munich in their home ground back in 2012 and Steve Holland has revealed that the victory wasn’t a lucky one.

He told the official Chelsea website: “I said earlier in my selection that it annoys me when people say we were lucky. We played the final with four first-choice players suspended – John Terry, Branislav Ivanovic, Ramires, and Raul Meireles. We had Gary Cahill and David Luiz, both of whom had hamstring tears and had not trained for several weeks. Their first training session was the day before. Also to add to that we were playing away from home – that being playing Bayern Munich in Munich. So there were big, big problems to solve from a coaching perspective.

We did not know how David and Gary would react to the training because they had only trained once in weeks. If one or both of them felt after the warm-up before the final they could not go on, Paulo Ferreira was the first player to play and if both of them did not make it then Michael Essien was the second player to play. The consequence of that was two substitute places would become available so Toddy Kane and Nathaniel Chalobah were ready to get changed in the dressing room 10 minutes before kick-off. So from a planning point of view, it was really difficult for a coach but both Gary and David made it and incredibly, through extra-time as well.

“My abiding memory of that day is that we had practised penalties in four different goals with four different goalkeepers on two pitches during the week, and the reason for that was if you take penalties against the same keeper all week, the keeper gets to know where the penalty goes and in the end the practice becomes a bit pointless as the players don’t take the penalties where they really want to take them because they know the keeper knows. So we kept rotating them round the goalkeepers and we made our list of the takers, and our list was delivered on the day.

“My head was in such a spin when we came to take the fifth one, I could not actually remember who we had agreed to take it. I turned to the centre-circle to see who was emerging with the ball and obviously Didier was that man and I just remember a calmness enveloping my body. If there was one man on the planet who I wanted to have hold of that ball at that point, it was him.”

About the Author

Chelsea is more than just a football club to me; it's a passion I share, and my affinity with the Chelsea badge is one that will last forever. As far as watching my favourite team is concerned, I'd rather miss a meal than miss a Chelsea game.