Gary Cahill wants Chelsea FC to be "solid and positive" as they travel to Paris Saint-German for the first leg of a mouth-watering UEFA Champions League quarter-final.
The 2012 winners have conceded just four goals in eight fixtures in this season's competition but centre-back Cahill – who has appeared in all bar two of those games – recognises that impressive record will come under intense scrutiny at the Parc des Princes. "They're in great form," he said of opponents who have mustered 22 UEFA Champions League goals so far. "They've got a lot of expectation levels at that club now and they've invested in some fantastic players, so it's going to be a hard game. It's quite an even tie, it's going to be two very good teams going at it. So it'll be tough."
Central to Paris's strong campaign has been Zlatan Ibrahimović, provider of ten of those goals and, having had a brutal experience of the Swede's finishing prowess in England's 4-2 friendly loss in Solna in November 2012, Cahill has a fair idea of what to expect in Paris. "You just approach it as another forward," the 28-year-old told UEFA.com. "Be respectful of how good he is – I've witnessed that first hand when we played for the national team. So respect that, but at the same time he's another forward and you come across top-quality forwards in the Champions League, full stop. We know their forward line is strong so it's going to be a tough test for us."
Although all too aware of the danger posed by Ibrahimović, Cahill and his fellow Chelsea defenders will be making no particular preparations for the tie. "People ask you that, don't they? People asked me the same when we faced Liverpool, about Luis Suárez and the form he's been in, and also Didier [Drogba in the last 16]. Sometimes [I'll study opponents], especially if I don't know the individual too well, but in this case obviously I know a lot about him. I know a lot about his strengths and he's a very, very good player."
While acknowledging the second leg at Stamford Bridge gives Chelsea a slight advantage, Cahill realises there is plenty of hard work ahead to capitalise fully on the benefits of the draw. "
We'll just look to have a half-decent result to come back to Stamford Bridge, because we know that we're in good form at home in all competitions," he explained. "That's the aim for us.
"The key will be to be solid but positive at the same time – go there to try and win the game, but at the same time be solid. Defensively as a unit [we have to] try and be the way we have been most of the season, which is very good. I'm sure they'll find it hard as well, but it's an even tie – two good teams looking to push on in the competition."
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