Raul Meireles
Chelsea's Portuguese midfielder Meireles runs past Benfica's goal keeper Artur after scoring during their Champions League quarter-final second leg match at Stamford Bridge stadium in London. REUTERS

Arsenal legend Alan Smith believes Chelsea can get the better of Barcelona in their Champions League semi-final if they adopt a more direct approach than they have previously in Europe this season.

Roberto Di Matteo's side overcame a dogged Benfica side 3-1 on aggregate to reach their sixth Champions League semi-final in nine years.

Barcelona stand between Chelsea and a place in the final in Munich in May and Di Matteo remains adamant his side will not be overawed at the prospect of facing the tournament favourites in a repeat of the contentious 2009 semi-final. Andres Iniesta's injury-time goal at Stamford Bridge sent the Catalans through to the final, where they overcame Manchester United.

"It will be exciting to play two games against one of the best teams in the world. We will find a strategy that will suit our players and our team to face Barcelona," Di Matteo told BBC Sport.

But former Arsenal striker Alan Smith has cautioned the interim Chelsea manager he needs to alter his defensive game plan if he is to get the better of Lionel Messi, Xavi and the rest of the European Champions.

"They must decide whether to press high up the pitch or not - always a thorny issue when it comes to facing Barcelona. It usually forms the tactical crux of opposing teams," Smith told the Telegraph.

"On Tuesday night, AC Milan dropped back to defend their penalty area, conceding space in the corridors 40 yards from goal. I can see Chelsea doing likewise, because they don't have the legs in midfield to be pressing all match.

"They would eventually tire, especially on the Nou Camp's huge pitch, to give Xavi and friends the necessary room. There are drawbacks, of course, with both methods. But Chelsea are more suited to taking their chances on the back foot."

Chelsea felt aggrieved to be defeated by Barcelona in 2009 and expressed their dissatisfaction with a number of decisions made by Norwegian referee Tom Ovrebo.

Di Matteo added: "We have faced them a lot of times over the years and a lot of our players have some history against Barcelona and they certainly felt they were a bit hard done by when they played against them three years ago.

"It is going to great to play two games against them. We are looking forward to it and very pleased to be in the Champions League semi-final."

And Arsenal legend Smith cautioned Chelsea they must hit Barcelona on the counter-attack if they are to sit back and soak up the pressure and insists the defending champions are vulnerable in the air from set-pieces.

"Opportunities will be scarce. If you sit back and soak up the pressure, it is absolutely imperative that the team counter-attacks with pace and purpose to catch Barcelona cold," said Smith.

"Chelsea will have to make the most of set-pieces. Barcelona may be the best side in the world but they certainly aren't the biggest. Apart from Pique and Carles Puyol, there aren't many players in Blaugrana who enjoy aerial duels.

"Chelsea have a few though, not least John Terry and Branislav Ivanovic (right), perhaps the two greatest threats when Chelsea win corners. So if the delivery is right, Roberto Di Matteo might fancy his boys to cause a few problems over two legs; maybe they can grab a goal or two if luck runs their way."