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PSG aim to finish off Chelsea without Zlatan

The Local/AFP · 8 Apr 2014, 18:00

Published: 08 Apr 2014 18:00 GMT+02:00

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PSG take a commanding two-goal lead into Wednesday’s second-leg against Chelsea after Javier Pastore's last-minute solo strike gave them a 3-1 win at the Parc des Princes in Paris last week.

The first leg proved comfortable enough for the French league leaders but Laurent Blanc and his team know the return leg in London will be a different affair altogether, especially as PSG are without the injured Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Ibrahimovic has scored 10 Champions League goals this season and is the club's topscorer and outstanding player. 

Despite the fact a draw or even a defeat by one-goal would be enough to see PSG progress to the semi-finals of Europe’s premier competition for the first time since 1995, Blanc has vowed to go on the attack.

"We believe in certain things and I have always believed that taking the game to the opposition is the best way of winning trophies," the former France coach told reporters on Monday. "We have not come here to suffer and let Chelsea dictate the game to us and dominate us. A role of a top team is to dominate the game even away from home.

"Our philosophy is an attacking one, we like to keep the ball and pose problems to our opposition. It would be wonderful to try to qualify by putting this philosophy into action."

Without Ibrahimovic the onus of posing an attacking threat to the Chelsea rearguard will fall on Argentine Ezequiel Lavezzi and Uruguayan Edinson Cavani, who was quiet in the first leg but looked dangerous once Ibrahimovic went off injured.

Blanc says the South American pair are well suited to tonight’s type of match.

"I think the first leg we saw Chelsea defend very compactly," said Blanc, whose side have a 13-point lead at the top of France's Ligue 1.

"That is very good for (first leg scorer) Ezequiel Lavezzi because he likes to have space down the flanks and he has got a lot of speed.

"We caused problems for Chelsea in the first leg and it is now a case to see if they play a slightly higher line. If they do it will leave space in behind for players like Lavezzi to exploit."

French midfielder Blaise Matuidi stressed what an achievement it would be for the French club to reach the semi-finals.

"Chelsea are a great team. In the first leg we saw their quality and they don't often lose here," he said. "We are going to focus on our philosophy and we have got the quality to get the ball and play. I think it would be incredible (to reach the semi-finals). The French public are hoping for that."

However standing in their way are Jose Mourinho and a Chelsea side who have experience of hauling back lost causes. The London club turned around a 3-1 first leg defeat against Napoli in 2012 before going on to win the competition.

Chelsea will hope to draw inspiration from that triumph on Wednesday night and Mourinho believes his side can do it if they play without fear.

Story continues below…

"I want to enjoy that game. I enjoy the difficulty," Mourinho said.

"Now we know that we need to win 2-0, 3-1, 4-1, 5-2. We know that we need a crazy result against Paris. We must be ready to go without fear, go at them, and see what happens.

"If we have to lose after a magnificent night of football, a magnificent night of emotion, we have to lose."

The Portuguese manager has never lost a quarter final tie of the Champions League but PSG should have enough firepower and menace to break that record.

The Local’s prediction: Chelsea to score two early goals but PSG to get one back and hold-on for a 2-1 defeat that would be enough to see them into the semi finals. 

The Local/AFP (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

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