Cole salutes battling Blues

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CHELSEA left-back Ashley Cole hailed his team’s self-belief after the 10-man Blues drew 2-2 with holders Barcelona at the Nou Camp to progress to the Champions League final.

Roberto Di Matteo’s side fought back from 2-0 down last night after having captain John Terry sent off for inexplicably kneeing Alexis Sanchez from behind, with goals from Ramires and Fernando Torres completing a remarkable 3-2 aggregate win.

The visitors were further disrupted by the loss of Gary Cahill through injury.

Cole said: “When you lose quality centre-halves like that against a great team, it’s going to be hard.

“But we all believed. Not many people did but we did as a group of players, and that’s what happened.

“It’s hard, but we defended well as a team, got a bit lucky, and Petr (Cech) made some good saves.

“Three to four months ago no one thought we had a chance. We lost a few games in the Premier League but we always believed and knew we were good enough. You can’t beat that desire and fight that you saw out there today.”

Defender Branislav Ivanovic, who will miss next month’s final in Munich after a late yellow card, added: “It was a very difficult game. We deserved to qualify.”