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Blanc prepares Paris for Chelsea challenge

Published: Monday 15 February 2016, 19.40CET
Laurent Blanc acknowledged Paris Saint-Germain's "entire season will be judged on our Champions League campaign" as they prepare to play Chelsea for the third year running.
by Aurélien Sagnier
from Paris
Blanc prepares Paris for Chelsea challenge
Paris training on the eve of the first leg ©AFP/Getty Images

Tournament statistics


Goals scored18
Possession (%)60
Total attempts134
on target55
off target52
against woodwork4
Yellow cards22
Red Cards0
Fouls committed117
Fouls suffered128

Press kits

  • Match press kit (local language)
Published: Monday 15 February 2016, 19.40CET

Blanc prepares Paris for Chelsea challenge

Laurent Blanc acknowledged Paris Saint-Germain's "entire season will be judged on our Champions League campaign" as they prepare to play Chelsea for the third year running.

  • Laurent Blanc says Paris "have the potential to win this competition"
  • Paris are 44 domestic fixtures unbeaten and have not lost since matchday four 
  • Chelsea's Guus Hiddink is 11 games undefeated since he succeeded José Mourinho
  • John Terry ruled out with hamstring injury
  • Paris eliminated Chelsea on away goals at this stage last term
  • Return leg: Wednesday 9 March, 20.45CET

Possible lineups
Trapp; Marquinhos (Van der Wiel), Thiago Silva, David Luiz, Maxwell; Matuidi, Thiago Motta, Verratti (Rabiot); Di María, Ibrahimović, Cavani.
Out: Aurier (disciplinary), Lavezzi (unspecified)
Doubtful: Pastore (hamstring)
Misses next match if booked: Aurier, Verratti

Chelsea: Courtois; Azpilicueta, Ivanović, Cahill, Rahman; Fàbregas, Mikel; Hazard, Willian, Pedro; Costa.
Out: Zouma (knee), Terry (hamstring, ligament), Matić (suspended)
Doubtful: Oscar (calf)
Misses next match if booked: none

Laurent Blanc, Paris coach
We'll need to impose our game on Chelsea, a team who are capable of beating us. We met Chelsea in the past two seasons: they beat us once and we eliminated them once, which shows that the level of the two teams is very similar. The Champions League gives them an opportunity for positive things in an otherwise difficult season, and their manager is very experienced having won the competition already.

Hiddink focusing on Chelsea present

Terry's absence could be very important for Chelsea, as he's an important player both on the pitch and in terms of team spirit; he's also very important on set pieces. We saw that on Saturday – when he went off, it completely changed the defensive line.

I still have two uncertainties regarding my lineup: between Marquinhos and [Gregory] Van der Wiel for right-back, and also another one. I almost have a full squad available – apart from a player who ruled himself out [Serge Aurier]. I know that Marco [Verratti, groin] is not fit enough for 90 minutes but I want to use him. Now I have to chose whether he will start or finish the game. Apart from that, the squad is very focused on the match.

We all know our entire season will be judged on our Champions League campaign – for most media, not winning the league is not an option, and it would also look bad not to win both domestic cups. The Champions League is something else, because we only face clubs that have the same level or higher than us.

We have the capacity to do well in this competition, more so that in previous years, notably thanks to our experienced players. Starting now, we'll only face teams that have the quality to win it. But that's when things become the most interesting for the club, for the players and for the manager. We have the potential to win this competition.


Paris and Chelsea's unbeaten runs

Guus Hiddink, Chelsea manager
I agree it's 50-50 [for the tie]. Paris are building a very strong team, dominating the French league. To become a great club, a team must win the Champions League, and they're certainly aiming for it. On our side, we've been improving since December, but it'll be a great test to get to the next round.

We're growing. Everyone knows the current situation of Chelsea. We're improving step by step, with quality players. We are not yet where we want to be, to be able to impose our style of play, but we've had a string of games with dominant play from us.

Hiddink just focusing on the present

Marco Verratti, although still young, is a key player for Paris and Italy. But PSG have very good replacements if he doesn't start – like we do with John Terry. Big clubs always have big replacements.

Weekend results
Paris 0-0 LOSC
Laurent Blanc rested Zlatan Ibrahimović, Maxwell, Thiago Motta and skipper Thiago Silva. Javier Pastore (calf) and Marco Verratti (groin), out since 16 and 31 January respectively, made their returns from injury.

Chelsea 5-1 Newcastle (Diego Costa 5, Pedro Rodríguez 9 59, Willian 17, Traoré 83; Townsend 90)
Chelsea's biggest league victory of the campaign was tempered by an injury to captain John Terry, who was replaced by Abdul Baba Rahman seven minutes before half-time. On target in an FA Cup tie last month, Bertrand Traoré, 20, opened his top-flight account for the Londoners.

©AFP/Getty Images

John Terry failed to come through training on Monday

Form guide (all competitions, most recent first)
Chelsea: WDDWWD

Reporter's view: Chris Burke (@UEFAcomChrisB)
Round three between Paris and Chelsea promises to be as fascinating as their encounters in the last two seasons, with both teams claiming an away-goals win apiece. A massive 24 points clear in Ligue 1 and suffering none of the injury problems that prefigured their meeting last term, the French outfit appear favourites this time – but that was true of Chelsea last season and look how that turned out ...

Did you know?
The sides' two most recent ties both ended 3-3 on aggregate, Chelsea winning the first on away goals in 2013/14, and Paris prevailing in the second last spring; find out more in our extensive match background.

Last updated: 17/02/16 19.15CET