Eden Hazard has admitted Chelsea fear Paris Saint-Germain ahead of their Champions League round-of-16 encounter.
PSG eliminated Chelsea at this stage last term – after the Premier League side had emerged victorious when the sides met in the quarter-finals in 2013-14 – and Hazard says they have not forgotten about that disappointment.
“Everybody at Chelsea thought ‘no, not PSG, not them again!’ after the draw,” he told Le Parisien.
“We still have the memory of last season’s tie. We had everything in our own hands to progress, we were playing at Stamford Bridge, PSG were down to 10 players. But we crashed out after conceding twice from a corner, normally one of our strengths.
“And we have to acknowledge that PSG are a team to be feared this season. They win all their games and have some great players in all positions. They are on par with Barcelona and Real Madrid at the moment.
“Teams go to Parc des Princes knowing that they could be in for a thrashing. Could that happen to Chelsea as well? Anything can happen.
“But we still have some great individual players and are very talented. Don’t write us off just yet. Go ahead and say PSG are the favourites…”
Hazard has singled out Marco Verratti as PSG’s key player ahead of Tuesday’s first leg and he thinks it is good news for Chelsea that the Italian is unlikely to start after only recently recovering from injury, but he has warned Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Angel Di Maria also pose a major threat.
“Verratti is their main man for me. He is in control and is their engine. Whenever they are having a bad game, he can take them by the hand and unlock the situation,” he added.
“I saw that Verratti will probably start from the bench and that is perhaps good news for us. But as a football lover, I would like to see him play. Plus he gave me a fair few kicks over the past two seasons and I would like to show him that I have not forgotten about that!
“And there is obviously Zlatan who is scoring a lot of goals.
“Di Maria is enjoying a great season as well. He went through a bad experience at Manchester United and people had forgotten about him a bit. But he has become one of the best players in the world again at PSG.
“Sometimes it is good to move elsewhere. Things can go very quick.”