Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain have got plenty of previous in the UEFA Champions League.
Last season the Premier League outfit knocked out PSG at the quarterfinal stage with Demba Ba’s last-gasp goal in the second leg (which prompted Jose Mourinho to run onto the pitch and 50-yards into the corner to celebrate with his players) sending the Blues through to the final four at the expense of Les Parisiens.
[ PHOTOS: New USMNT jersey ]
Ahead of the first leg of their UCL last 16 encounter at the Parc des Princes on Tuesday, PSG boss Laurent Blanc has warned his players about Mourinho and Chelsea and their tactics to “raise the temperature” on the pitch.
“I know Jose Mourinho a bit and I know he’ll raise the heat,” Blanc said. “So my players need to remain cool-headed, not react and keep calm and they mustn’t react even when it is hot out there on the turf. They must stay calm and cold. We can’t afford any more yellow cards.”
PSG have plenty of players who are capable of losing the plot against Chelsea, with the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Marco Verrati and David Luiz the pick of the hotheads. Luiz, who signed for PSG from Chelsea this summer for $57 million, will likely be targeted and Zlatan should expect plenty of meaty challenges from John Terry and Co. as Chelsea look to take PSG back to Stamford Bridge for the second leg at least on level pegging.
The reigning French champions currently have a depleted squad with Blaise Matuidi and Javi Pastore struggling to be fit, while Yohan Cabaye, Lucas Moura, Lucas and Sergie Aurier are definitely out. As for Mourinho and Chelsea, this is how the “Special One” responded to reports about PSG’s players being tired.
“When the French players were on holiday at Christmas we were playing five games in ten days,” Mourinho told reporters on Monday. “The last person you should speak about accumulation of matches is with a manager of an English club.”
Mourinho also confirmed that Diego Costa will start and play for the first time since Jan. 27 on Tuesday, as the Spanish international forward has completed his three-game ban for stamping on Emre Can in a League Cup semifinal against Liverpool last month.
With plenty of away fans expected as London and Paris are only separated by a two hour train ride on the Eurostar, police in the French capital will be on red alert after violence broke out between supporters on Chelsea’s previous two trips to Paris.
After Blanc’s comments and Costa’s return, maybe the French police should keep a close eye on the on-field altercations as a tense, brutal encounter is set to play out once again between two squads growing more and more familiar with each other.