By the end of the first half, we were two down and had had a man sent off (above). We’d already made three changes in the back four: Ramires, a midfield player, was at right-back; José Bosingwa, a right-back, was playing centre-back. I’m on the touchline, looking up at the clock, in a stadium of 100,000 fans, thinking: “This is going to be painful.”
Then, just before half-time, we got a counter-attack and Ramires produced a sublime bit of ability to chip the goalkeeper for 2-1. It was huge – it meant we had something we could keep, something to protect.
In the first half, after John had been sent off, we had played 4-4-1 with Drogba alone up front. But we were getting outnumbered in midfield – our two central midfielders couldn’t get any stability at all against Barcelona’s three.
“Drogba was going to be our Lewandowski, and Mata our Kagawa”
So, at half-time, we shifted it. Drogba moved to the left in what was effectively a 4-5-0 and we played with three in central midfield: Raul Meireles, Lampard and John Obi Mikel. It gave us a chance of maintaining a bit of control in that zone, of keeping the ball out of our net – but it also meant that, with no focal point in attack, we had no chance of ever getting out of our half.
But we were set, and for 45 minutes we camped in our penalty area. I know I’m biased, but what followed was, in my opinion, the greatest rearguard action ever by any team in any game.
We had a little bit of luck, the Messi penalty against the bar, and then that incredible moment two minutes into injury time when, for what felt like the first time in the entire second half, my neck turned to the opposite end of the pitch. A white and yellow flash and Fernando Torres (below), all alone, nobody within 30, 40 metres of him.
Only when the ball hit the net did we feel, for the first time across the whole two legs, that we might make the final. It was an incredible moment – one that will stay with me forever.