Laurent Blanc has called Jose Mourinho "a great coach" ahead of Paris Saint-Germain's Champions League quarterfinal with Chelsea.
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Blanc bore first-hand testimony to Mourinho's talents as a player at Barcelona where the Portuguese was Sir Bobby Robson's assistant during the 1996-97 season, in the Frenchman's sole season at the Camp Nou.
The pair will pit their wits against each other over two legs for a place in the last four starting with next Wednesday's encounter at the Parc des Princes, and Blanc has said he is aware of the challenges his Chelsea counterpart will pose him.
"We're going to need to play a great game to beat Chelsea. They're a great team with a great coach," Blanc explained to the media. "He's very clever, very professional. I have a lot of respect for him, he's a great tactician. He's won everything. He has his way of doing things, but no-one can argue with him. I really think that."
Up against the Premier League leaders, Blanc will almost certainly be able to count on key centre-back Thiago Silva.
The Brazil captain, 29, fractured a facial bone against Lorient earlier this month, but will likely play against Nice in Friday's Ligue 1 match wearing a protective mask that he should also be able to use against Chelsea.
"He's doing well," Blanc said. "You need authorisation to wear a mask in the Champions League, that should be sorted out quite easily. But against Nice, we have to see if he wants to wear it or not. There is no particular risk in him playing against Nice."