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Apr 8, 2014

Desailly: Home form can carry Chelsea

Former Chelsea captain Marcel Desailly has warned Paris Saint-Germain that the Blues are "used to performing" at Stamford Bridge and are well capable of overturning their first-leg deficit in Tuesday's Champions League quarterfinal.

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Chelsea have won 15 times in an unbeaten streak of 17 Premier League games on home soil this season, and plundered 42 goals while conceding only nine.

Though Basel claimed a shock group-stage win in west London earlier in the competition, Jose Mourinho's men have won their past three continental home outings without conceding a goal.

They also came back from a 3-1 first-leg loss at Napoli in the Champions League last-16 two years ago to win 4-1 and progress, with Desailly -- who made 222 appearances for Chelsea between 1998 and 2004 -- telling Le Parisien that his former club are rather in the habit of succeeding at Stamford Bridge.

"At home, Chelsea are used to performing,” Desailly said. “I think they're capable of turning things round and winning 2-0. Subconsciously, Paris are going to be playing a waiting game with their two-goal lead. The risk is that Chelsea will get into gear.

“Paris would need to play away from home with their usual philosophy. The three midfielders have the technique, the engines and the ability to win back possession to allow the forwards to try things."

Marco Verratti will be vital in the middle of the park.
Marco Verratti could prove an important player for PSG.

One of those midfielders is Marco Verratti, who has developed from a relative unknown upon his arrival from Pescara in summer 2012 into a key cog in Laurent Blanc's well-oiled machine. 

The Italy international does, however, have a tendency to allow his temper to get the better of him, and Blanc warned his young midfielder to keep a tight rein on what is likely to be a highly charged evening in London.

"We expect Chelsea are going to throw everything into the game,” Blanc said. “We have to be very precise technically, be still more vigilant and we know that in that area Marco Verratti is very important.

"He has to be very careful, just as he has to be in every game. He has to control his temper. He's young and still has to improve."

Verratti is not at risk of picking up a suspension, but Thiago Motta and Blaise Matuidi would be out of a prospective semifinal first leg should they be yellow carded.

Among the expected capacity crowd at Stamford Bridge will be PSG's injured striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The Sweden international is receiving specialised homeopathic treatment from Bayern Munich and German national team doctor Hans-Wilhelm Mueller-Wohlfahrt in a bid to recover sufficiently quickly from the right thigh injury he sustained in the first leg.

Matuidi, 26, told media at Monday's pre-match press conference the PSG squad hoped they could fend off Chelsea's challenge for the sake of their injured teammate, whose ten goals in the competition have contributed greatly to the French champions' progress to the last eight.

"He's an essential part of the team who's missing,” Matuidi said. “He's scored a lot of goals. But we have other world-class players, I'm thinking of Edinson Cavani. We've already played without Ibra We'll do our best for him, to give back everything that he's given to the club."

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