Reaching the Capital One Cup Final will make the impossible possible, says Swansea’s Angel Rangel ahead of the semi-final second leg against Chelsea
Spanish right-back Angel Rangel has been there, done that and got all the T-shirts in Swansea City’s rise through The Football League divisions to prosper in the top flight.
But the long-serving defender is still pinching himself to take in the enormity of the history-making opportunity that he and his team-mates have in front of them as they prepare to entertain Premier League rivals Chelsea in the second leg of the Capital One Cup semi-final after their surprise 3-1 first leg win at Stamford Bridge.
“If you had told me five and a half years ago in League 1,” he said incredulously, “that we'd now be top 10 in the Premier League and fighting with Chelsea for a chance of playing at Wembley in the Capital One Cup Final, I’d have said it was probably impossible. But that's how far we’ve come.”
If the Swans prove the impossible possible they will be through to the first major final in the club’s 100-year history. Rangel was part of the team that clinched promotion to the Premier League via a Wembley Play-Off Final two years ago, but the 30-year-old defender insisted: “This is the biggest game of my Swansea career.
“You can talk about the Play-Off Final but this one is bigger, not only for us players but for Swansea's history. We have the chance to make history and making the final is a dream, something the club has waited for a long time.”
To make the dream come true Swansea, with a two-goal advantage from the first leg, don’t have to go helter-skelter for victory but can afford to draw the game, while even losing by a single goal would knock out the four-time winners of the competition and ensure the Welsh club of their place at Wembley.
Simply looking to hold their own is not an option for the Swans, however, says Rangel as he looks ahead to starting the second leg with two goals effectively in the bag. “It's an advantage,” he said, “but we will still go to win the game.
“If we do that we can get a draw and that will be enough, but if we play for a draw then you can lose the game. We’re playing against a massive club, a big team and it will be very difficult for us.
“It will be the longest 90 minutes of our careers. But we have so many things going our way. We're at home and Chelsea haven’t been able to beat us here yet and that’s a good thing, we’ve played them a few times and always scored. If we score one goal it will be a big thing for us and then we will hopefully go through.
“If I was in Chelsea’s situation I wouldn’t want to have to come down here, 2-0 down and playing against a team like Swansea. It’s a difficult place for opposition teams. Swansea at the Liberty has always been a fortress and it’s been a good thing for us.”
That’s confidence for you, but Rangel admits that there will be butterflies in Swansea stomachs as they look to complete the job they started so well at Stamford Bridge.
“There will be nerves,” he said, “because we can be legends, we can make history.
The motivation is there because it's a game we’ve been waiting to come around for a long time and it’s great to be involved.
“There is tension because there are a lot of emotions. If we get through it will means such a lot to the squad, the fans, the club and the city – we hope it will go our way.”