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Mar 25, 2014

Sirigu: PSG ready for Chelsea tie

Paris Saint-Germain goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu says he was impressed by Chelsea's recent 6-0 rout of Arsenal, but insists his club can still overturn the Blues in the Champions League.

• Johnson: Motta and Ibrahimovic lead gritty PSG
Delaney: Star-studded Champions League ties

Sirigu, 27, can expect to be severely tested over the two legs of PSG's quarterfinal tie with the Premier League leaders, who made Arsene Wenger's 1,000th match in charge of the Gunners on Saturday one to forget.

The Italy international told RMC he expects a keenly-fought contest with Jose Mourinho's side, but believes the Ligue 1 champions’ progress since they were knocked out by Barcelona at the same stage of the competition last season means they still have a chance of making it through.

"They always make you afraid, even when they win 1-0. We have a lot of respect for this team, which won the Europa League last year,” he said. "They are very good in Europe, and are top of the English league. They have fantastic players. I expect them to go to war with us, but that's normal, it's the Champions League.

"I hope it's 50-50, because that means we're at Chelsea's level, which isn't bad. We're going to play as much as possible. But I think Chelsea are very strong. They have more experience than us in Europe. But we want to cause them problems."

PSG have only ever faced Chelsea in the group stage of the Champions League, losing 3-0 at home and drawing 0-0 away when the teams met during the 2004-05 campaign.

There has been much change at the Parc des Princes since then, however, with the vast resources of PSG's Qatari owners turning the club into continental heavyweights.

Mourinho has even declared that Laurent Blanc's men are favourites to progress to the last four at his own side's expense, but Sirigu refuses to believe the Portuguese was being entirely sincere.

"When he says something, it's premeditated. I think we have a chance of winning, as do Chelsea. You have to be realistic. We're strong, but Chelsea are too. It'll be a good match which will be decided on the details. We're going to try and come out of it as winners," the former Palermo goalkeeper said before acknowledging Mourinho's ability to manipulate the media to his team's advantage.

"He's very strong in front of the media. He's capable of taking the pressure himself, that takes the weight off the team. He's a coach which manages to get the positive things from each player he coaches. He always manages to win something. He's an important person in world football."

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