Guus Hiddink wants Chelsea to take their renewed confidence into the Champions League as they attempt to halt the relentless Paris Saint-Germain.
The reigning champions of England and France meet for the third time in as many seasons in the Champions League knockout rounds having each progressed once from the previous ties, with PSG emerging triumphant on away goals last term.
Hiddink’s side showed something close to their best form on Saturday as they thrashed Newcastle United 5-1 at Stamford Bridge, extending their unbeaten run to 12 matches in all competitions.
And the Dutchman, who revealed his frustration at a lack of recovery time ahead of Tuesday’s trip to Paris, is keen for his players to keep their self-belief high as they face a PSG team who have lost just once in 39 matches in all competitions this season.
“They have much more rest than we have but we must consider when the Premier League teams play in Europe to give them an extra day’s recovery,” said Hiddink after the Newcastle match.
“The second day after a performance with intensity is for rest and recovery, but we have to prepare for this game.
“It will be much more difficult [against PSG], but this game gave confidence to the team. We have to go there and play with the confidence we showed today.”
PSG were held 0-0 by Lille on Saturday but remain unbeaten across domestic competitions this season, with Real Madrid the only side to beat the Ligue 1 champions in 2015-16.
Laurent Blanc opted to rest a number of first-team players for the weekend draw, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva left out.
Blanc admitted it will be vital to keep his squad fresh for the remainder of the season and warned that PSG must not discount the importance of the second leg at Stamford Bridge.
“Of course the match against Chelsea is important but there is also the return game, and I hope there will be others,” he said.
“We have to think also about the end of our season, which could be interesting, I hope. The match is important, but it is played over two confrontations.”
Blanc believes it will be “too risky” to field Marco Verratti, who is recovering from a groin injury, or Javier Pastore – who has a calf problem – against Chelsea, though Ibrahimovic, Silva and Maxwell can all expect to return.
Serge Aurier was also rested against Lille but the Ivorian could well be left out following controversial video footage which emerged over the weekend, in which he appeared to use derogatory terms to describe Blanc and some of his team-mates.
Chelsea face something of a defensive crisis, with captain John Terry (hamstring) expected to be unavailable and Kurt Zouma out for the season with a knee injury.
January arrivals Matt Miazga and Alexandre Pato could both be included in the squad, though Hiddink warned last week against rushing either new signing into the first team too quickly.
Key Opta Stats:
– PSG have won one of their six Champions League games against Chelsea (3-1 at home in April 2014), drawing three and losing two.
– PSG are winless in their last five Champions League games played in the knockout stages (D2 L3).
– PSG are the only team, alongside Juventus and Real Madrid, yet to concede a goal at home in the Champions League this season.
– Zlatan Ibrahimovic has scored seven goals in 36 Champions League knockout games. In the group stages, he has found the net 38 times in 79 games.
– Diego Costa has only scored one goal in his last 14 Champions League games, that was against Maccabi Tel Aviv last September.
- Soccer News Like
- Be the first of your friends!