MONTERREY PREPARED FOR TOUGHEST TEST
Monterrey coach Victor Vucetich expressed his admiration for the Blues ahead of tomorrow's FIFA Club World Cup semi-final, and is wary of the threat posed by our attacking players.
The Mexican side, appearing in the competition for the second successive year, booked a date with Chelsea courtesy of a 3-1 quarter-final win over Ulsan Hyundai at the weekend, but Vucetich appreciates taking on Rafael Benitez's side is a far different proposition.
'Chelsea are very physical and tough,' he explained. 'Up front they have not so tall players but they are very fast with the likes of [Juan] Mata, [Eden] Hazard, [Victor] Moses.
'Ramires is a very intelligent player as well so I'm sure they will score goals. However, we have very talented players in our team and what we'll do is play how we need to. We will pay respect to our opponent, but try to display what skills we have.
'This is an international tournament, so regardless of who we play we need to be well prepared. In the Premier League, Chelsea are a good team, but we want to exhibit a good performance and play as we always do.'
Vucetich added that the dismissal of Roberto Di Matteo had come as a surprise, but was quick to acknowledge that, in Rafael Benitez, the Blues are in capable hands.
'I was very much surprised the coach has suddenly changed because they played under him and won the Champions League,' he said.
'Rafael Benitez is a very experienced and capable manager so we are very much aware of the strategies he will use, but we are always keeping our eyes on international football so we are confident in how to deal with them.'
Defender Hiram Mier, meanwhile, fresh from securing a gold medal for Mexico at the London Olympics, is hopeful his club side can make this a tournament to remember following their quarter-final elimination a year ago.
'The Olympics made our dreams come true, and now we are here to be champions,' he said.
'Outside of Mexico we play high level football from the confidence we gained in London. In this competition the matches are tough, the opponents are tough, but we will do our best.
'I want to give everything for my club. Since my childhood I've wanted to play international football around the world, which is natural for any player. I want to be able to perform to my best and be acknowledged for my skills.'