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Blanc relishing Chelsea challenge

Published: Tuesday 1 April 2014, 18.45CET
Laurent Blanc hopes his Paris Saint-Germain side can overcome their quarter-final inexperience as Chelsea FC arrive, declaring they will "stay true to our beliefs".
by Aurélien Sagnier
from Paris
Blanc relishing Chelsea challenge
Laurent Blanc oversees a Paris training session ©AFP/Getty Images

Tournament statistics

ParisChelsea

Goals scored25
 
19
Possession (%)58
 
42
Total attempts125
 
144
on target86
 
87
off target39
 
57
blocked0
 
0
against woodwork1
 
7
Corners38
 
59
Offsides27
 
17
Yellow cards21
 
25
Red Cards1
 
0
Fouls committed116
 
183
Fouls suffered153
 
171
Passes7418
 
6808
completed6191
 
5135

Press kits

  • Match press kit (local language)
 
Published: Tuesday 1 April 2014, 18.45CET

Blanc relishing Chelsea challenge

Laurent Blanc hopes his Paris Saint-Germain side can overcome their quarter-final inexperience as Chelsea FC arrive, declaring they will "stay true to our beliefs".

Paris Saint-Germain coach Laurent Blanc hopes his team's lack of experience in the latter stages of the UEFA Champions League will not prove too large a hindrance when Chelsea FC arrive for the first leg of their quarter-final. The former French international thinks Blues winger Eden Hazard will be the danger man at the Parc des Princes, while opposite number José Mourinho says Zlatan Ibrahimović is the biggest threat to his side, describing the forward as a player who "can make a difference".

Paris
Laurent Blanc, coach
It's very exciting for a manager to be involved in this kind of project – just as it is for any player. Everything about our development is going very fast, but we need to gain experience for Europe and that takes time. On the domestic front we have done very well: we met our targets in a very short period of time. However, in European competition we are among the least experienced clubs remaining. We will need time to be a regular player at the top level. Games like these are very important steps along the way to getting there.

Chelsea and Paris have very different styles of play – they're more inclined to counterattack while we like to keep possession. Which is more effective? We'll see after the two legs, but we'll stay true to our beliefs.

Eden Hazard has always impressed me: his playing style, the way he can beat his opponents, his pace and ability to change direction. And ever since he came to Chelsea he has been a goalscorer. When Chelsea are in difficulties, he's given total freedom to improve things. What's more, he is still young. If you ask me, he is going to be a great player.

Weekend result
Friday: OGC Nice 0-1 Paris (Kolodziejczak og 52)
Sirigu; Jallet, Marquinhos, Thiago Silva, Digne; Cabaye (Matuidi 79), Thiago Motta, Pastore (Verratti 66); Cavani, Ibrahimović, Lavezzi (Lucas 67).

• Edinson Cavani's pressure led to a 52nd-minute own goal in Paris's favour as they posted a club-record seventh straight league win, with only three more victories needed to retain the Ligue 1 title.

• Thiago Silva wore a mask to protect the cheekbone he injured a week ago against FC Lorient while former Chelsea defender Alex was rested.

Team news
None

Chelsea
José Mourinho, manager
[Zlatan Ibrahimović] is not a difficult player to coach. The ones hard to coach are the players who do not want to work or win enough. That is the opposite of Zlatan. He has been fantastic to coach. We are friends. We will keep like that, but tomorrow both he and I want to win. There is a passion in Paris, people love football, the Parc des Princes is already a great place to play. Paris seems to be developing a project similar to Chelsea.

Paris has a team full of fantastic attacking players, not to mention the other ones. I could speak for hours about Thiago [Motta]. The offensive players are what really make the difference at this level. Of the remaining teams in the last eight all are good, with great structures and a good philosophy. But on top of that, you have the likes of [Lionel] Messi, Zlatan [Ibrahimović], [Robert] Lewandowski, Diego Costa, [Edinson] Cavani, [Ezequiel] Lavezzi. Those are the players who make the difference, and they have a lot of them.

I watch a lot of Paris matches, and Laurent Blanc has a clear philosophy. They keep the same philosophy, even when they change three midfielders, like against Bayer Leverkusen in the [round of 16] second leg. Same goes for us; we have a philosophy and we won't change it. And we have faith in what we do. I do not think [experience] plays a big role. Maybe Paris as a club does not have the same experience as Chelsea in the past decades, but if you look closely it is a different picture. Lots of their players do have experience. It is almost the opposite for us. The club has a lot of experience, playing the Champions League each season, with Petr Čech who has 100 Champions League matches. But we also have a lot of young inexperienced players.

Weekend result
Saturday:
Crystal Palace FC 1-0 Chelsea (Terry og 52)
Čech;
Ivanović, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta; Luiz (Oscar 46), Matić; Lampard (Salah 56); Hazard; Schürrle (Ba 70), Torres, Hazard.

• Chelsea conceded the Premier League lead to Liverpool FC with this surprise reverse at lowly Palace, the first time in 54 top-flight games with the Blues, Real Madrid CF or FC Internazionale Madrid that Mourinho had lost a league match to a side promoted the previous campaign.

Team news
Ashley Cole continues his recovery from a knee ligament injury. Samuel Eto'o is sidelined with a hamstring problem. Marco van Ginkel recently returned to Under-21 action after knee surgery.

Match fact
• These teams met at the Parc des Princes in Mourinho's first UEFA Champions League fixture with Chelsea on 14 September 2004, the Londoners winning 3-0 with a John Terry header and Didier Drogba brace.

Last updated: 03/04/14 16.24CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/season=2014/matches/round=2000481/match=2011873/prematch/preview/index.html#paris+chelsea+preview

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