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Apr 1, 2014

Mourinho: PSG similar to Chelsea

The ESPN FC team discuss the Champions League matchup between Chelsea and PSG.

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho expressed affection for Zlatan Ibrahimovic while questioning Paris St Germain's lavish spending in the era of Financial Fair Play on the eve of the Champions League quarterfinal first leg at Parc des Princes.

A Real Madrid quarterfinal pairing with Chelsea and former manager Jose Mourinho would provide entertainment both on and off the pitch.
Jose Mourinho insists Chelsea are underdogs against Chelsea.

Laurens: Battle of the egos
Palmer: Five UCL talking points
Johnson: Litmus test for PSG

Mourinho's first European match as Chelsea boss in his first spell was a 3-0 win at PSG in September 2004. However, the mega-rich Parisiens are a different proposition now.

Mourinho led Chelsea through the early years of owner Roman Abramovich's revolution and noted the similarities to PSG's transition to heavy spending.

"When Mr Abramovich bought the club he was ready and keen and the football rules were open to that, so the investment was important, was probably the most important investment in that period," Mourinho said.

"As a consquence of that, Chelsea build year after year some of the best teams in European football. Paris is doing the same. Some people don't understand very well how because it looks like the Financial Fair Play is going to be in practice, but the reality is that in the last two years the investment was massive.

"The choice of the players was fantastic. In this moment the team is very complete and is full of very good players."

Mourinho listed the men he considers to be the leading forwards in Europe, three of whom play for the Parisiens.

"It's a team full of fantastic strikers and goalscorers and that is what really makes the difference in this level," Mouriho said.

"You look to the teams in the top eight at this moment, all of them good teams, good structures, with a certain philosophy, but after that you go and you see (Barcelona's Lionel) Messi, (Real Madrid's Cristiano) Ronaldo, (Borussia Dortmund's Robert) Lewandowski, Diego Costa, (Zlatan) Ibrahimovic, (Edison) Cavani, (Ezequiel) Lavezzi.

"(PSG) have lots of them. At this level it's a very important part of a team."

Mourinho insisted Chelsea are underdogs as they bid to book their place in a seventh semifinal in 11 campaigns.

PSG are unbeaten in 28 European home games, since Hapoel Tel-Aviv won 4-2 in the UEFA Cup group stage in November 2006.

Mourinho says, individually, the PSG players have plenty of European experience, including his former striker, Ibrahimovic.

"During one year the relationship was phenomenal," Mourinho said about his time with the Swedish striker. "The only time we disagreed it was obvious, because I wanted him to stay at Inter and he wanted to leave for Barcelona.

"We are friends, we will keep like that. We respect each other.

"Tomorrow he wants to win, I want to win, that's the nature of football."

Ibrahimovic earlier indicated he will end his career without ever playing in the Premier League.

Mourinho said: "I think it's a pity for him. His career is so rich and so full of success that I think he can be considered as one of the greatest players, even if he never played in the Premier League."

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