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Sports

PSG minus Zlatan to face Chelsea in Champions League quarters

© AFP

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-04-08

Paris Saint-Germain face off against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge Tuesday for the second leg of the Champions League quarter finals without star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, in their first chance to reach the semis since 1995.

PSG, who have won 11 games in a row in all competitions, eclipsed Chelsea 3-1 at the Parc des Princes last week. Even though Chelsea trail the French by two goals from the first leg, Blanc is pushing his team to bring their best game, expecting a backlash from Jose Mourinho's side.

"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."

Striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who has scored 10 Champions League goals this season, will miss the match because of a thigh injury he sustained in the first leg.

Long wait

But South American duo Ezequiel Lavezzi and Edinson Cavani, part of the Napoli team that were knocked out of the competition by eventual winners Chelsea in 2012, will look to continue PSG's run of scoring in 17 successive Champions League matches.

"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 echoed Blanc's thoughts and is hoping to put an end to PSG's long wait for a last-four spot in European football's biggest competition.

"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."

(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS)

Date created : 2014-04-08

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