UCL: Blanc relishing Chelsea challenge

on   /   in Sports 2:51 pm   /   Comments

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”.

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.

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.

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.

uefa.com

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