Paris Saint-Germain boss Laurent Blanc claims a sense of familiarity with Chelsea will make it “easy” to prepare for their Champions League tie.
The teams have met in each of the last two seasons – both sides winning one tie apiece – and will face off again after Christmas after being paired in Monday’s draw for the last 16.
Although their domestic campaigns have taken different paths with PSG 17 points clear at the top of Ligue 1 and Chelsea struggling in the lower reaches of the Premier League, Blanc does not believe there is a clear favourite.
Speaking at Tuesday’s media conference ahead of the Coupe de le League clash against St Etienne, he said: “We beat Chelsea once, they beat us once. They are two big clubs, one that has won the competition and the other that wants to.
“Chelsea were clearly the favourites the last two times we played but I think it is 50/50 this season.
“The preparation will be easy as we know this team well but there is plenty of time until February.”
Zlatan Ibrahimovic will be the main threat to Chelsea’s progression and Blanc is pleased the veteran Sweden striker appears back to his best.
“Do not forget that players can go through difficult periods,” he added. “It happens to all players and also Ibrahimovic.
“This is a player who is technically gifted but every player needs a physical base to work from. Ibrahimovic never lost his instinct for goals but perhaps he was struggling because his physical level was not high.”
PSG remain on course for a domestic and continental quadruple but Blanc believes that is asking too much of his squad and is focusing on Ligue 1 and the Champions League.
“Looking at the calendar I don’t know how we will do. With both domestic cups in France it becomes unplayable,” he said.
“We are not immune to injuries and suspensions and as soon as you have three or four players missing it becomes impossible to play all the competitions.
“We will try but we are giving priority to the Championship and the Champions League.
“It’s easier to win the Coupe de la Ligue than the Coupe de France as that is poorly positioned relative to the Champions League.”
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