Chelsea's Mourinho taunts ‘aggressive’ PSG ahead of crunch game
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Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has resorted to his customary mind games ahead of Wednesday’s decisive Champions League clash with Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) at Stamford Bridge, accusing the French club of choosing aggression over football.
The Portuguese coach has made no secret of his irritation over PSG's tactics in their 1-1 draw in the French capital last month. He believes PSG played even more aggressively than the third and fourth tier English teams faced this season by Chelsea in the domestic cups.
“With players of such quality I was expecting more football and less aggression,” Mourinho said Tuesday. “I thought an English team would never be surprised by aggression. In that game (in Paris) I was surprised, because a team with fantastic players was a team with the record of fouls, was the team that was making foul after foul, was the team that stopped (Eden) Hazard with fouls all the time.”
The draw in Paris has left Chelsea in a stronger position than when the two teams met last year. The Blues overcame a 3-1 deficit then to advance on away goals after a 2-0 win at Stamford Bridge.
The Londoners have also proved more consistent than their opponents this season. While Chelsea have already won the League Cup and currently hold a five-point lead in the Premier League -- with a game in hand -- PSG trail Lyon by a point in the less competitive French league.
PSG coach Laurent Blanc is hoping his squad will have matured since last year’s disappointing exit. “In order to progress as a club you need experience and Paris Saint-Germain has certainly got a bit more experience,” he told reporters on Tuesday. “But we are still a long way off from really having the same level of experience as Chelsea.”
The French squad were deprived of their talismanic striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic at Stamford Bridge last year. The prolific Swede will be on the pitch this time, but his form has not been great since he came back from a nagging heel injury.
PSG players will wear black armbands as a tribute to the 10 people who died after two helicopters filming a French reality show crashed in a remote part of Argentina on Monday. Among the dead were Olympic gold medalist swimmer Camille Muffat, boxer Alexis Vastine and renowned sailor Florence Arthaud.
(FRANCE 24 with AP)