Paris Saint-Germain coach Laurent Blanc has backed his side to pull off a repeat of last season’s Champions League last-16 triumph over Chelsea when they visit Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.
The French champions hold a 2-1 advantage from the first leg in Paris, placing them in a stronger position than in 2015, when they were tied at 1-1 heading to London.
PSG overcame an early red card for Zlatan Ibrahimovic to progress with a 2-2 draw after extra time in the second leg and Blanc is confident of reaching the quarter-finals once again.
“Each football match has its history,” he told a news conference. “It is unclear what will happen Wednesday.
“We will try to do what it takes to qualify, as will Chelsea. But I think it will be a more difficult game than last year for various reasons.
“But if we did it last season, we can do it again.
“We have an advantage in the result, which is important. We will try to impose our game. It will be a great challenge for PSG. We know our intentions and we will try to put it into practice. We need to have the right mental approach”
Blanc conceded he will have to make a late call on the fitness of Marco Verratti, who has a groin problem and was reportedly forced to pull out of training early on Tuesday.
And the French coach has warned his squad not to respond to the kind of provocation dished out by the likes of Diego Costa as he aims to avoid going a man down for a second time in as many trips to Stamford Bridge.
“Costa, there are two aspects, the player and the man,” he added. “This is a very good player, a striker who scores goals, always moving. I like him.
“After that we know the man – he loves contact, the duels. It’s part of the game.
“We saw last year, he played like that. I tell my players not to respond to it, to be very cold compared to that.
“We have to stay as 11. We must not respond to provocation. We paid for it last year.”
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