Qarabag 'not scared' to face Chelsea - manager Gurban Gurbanov

  12 September 2017    Read: 760
Qarabag 'not scared' to face Chelsea - manager Gurban Gurbanov

Qarabag boss Gurban Gurbanov insisted his side are unfazed by facing Chelsea in their Champions League debut on Tuesday night, according to espnfc.com.

Chelsea, the 2012 winners, return to the Champions League after a season's absence from Europe's elite competition and the Group C contest at Stamford Bridge is Qarabag's first fixture in the group stages.

"We're not scared of any of them," Gurbanov said. "They have one of the best coaches in Europe [in Antonio Conte] and they have some of the best players in Europe.

"Even though Chelsea is an icon in the Champions League and have a big chance to win the Champions League this season, the team is ready and we're going to play until the end.

"We know Chelsea are going to make us be defensive. That doesn't mean we're going to spend 90 minutes in defence. We're going to attack as well."

Chelsea head coach Conte has suggested he will rotate his squad between Premier League fixtures with Leicester, which Chelsea won last Saturday, and Arsenal on Sunday.

Gurbanov added: "Rotating the squad doesn't mean Conte's going to rest. He'll stay in front of the bench supporting his team until the end."

Qarabag faced Celtic and Tottenham in 2015 and their history is well documented.

They have been displaced to the Azerbaijan capital Baku since 1993 because of a conflict with Armenia in the Nagorno-Karabakh region. There is a fragile ceasefire.

Qarabag, who are seeking a fifth successive Azerbaijan league title, began their Champions League campaign in mid-July in the second qualifying round.

Wins over Georgia's FC Samtredia and FC Sheriff of Moldova took them to the playoff, where they advanced on away goals at the expense of FC Copenhagen. The 2-1 defeat in Denmark was their only loss in the last 20 games in all competitions.

Qarabag defender Jakub Rzezniczak faced Chelsea striker Alvaro Morata last season and is looking forward to a potential reunion, if the Spaniard is selected.

"I played against him when he played for Real Madrid and I played for Legia Warsaw. It will be good to see him again," the Poland defender said. "In two matches against Legia he scored one goal. I hope I will stop him."

Albania defender Ansi Agolli is Qarabag's only injury absentee.

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