PSG geared up for Chelsea quarterfinal
Paris Saint-Germain CEO Jean-Claude Blanc believes the club will go into their Champions League quarterfinal tie against Chelsea with "a lot of conviction" after Friday's draw.
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With PSG at Lorient for Friday night's game in Ligue 1, Blanc was their senior representative at UEFA's headquarters in Switzerland to see his namesake Laurent's squad pitted against Jose Mourinho's men.
With the French champions sitting comfortably atop the Ligue 1 table, eight points clear of closest challengers Monaco with nine games remaining, they are on course to retain their title.
And Blanc told Infosport+ that PSG’s cushion on the domestic front means they can fully focus on their European mission of improving on last season's quarterfinal exit to Barcelona.
"Laurent Blanc does the most with his players. We have a gap to maintain in the league, which allows us to remain concentrated on the Champions League, and which allows the club to take on a world dimension,” the PSG CEO said.
“We're proud to be among the eight last clubs in the competition. Our squad has a year's more experience, but we have a lot of respect for Chelsea. We'll go into the two games with a lot of conviction."
The two clubs have met just once, during the 2004-05 Champions League group stage, when Chelsea won 3-0 in Paris with the return game in London ending in a goalless draw.
When the two teams meet again at the Parc des Princes for the first leg on April 2, Chelsea fans will see a barely changed stadium but a radically different opposing team, with PSG's Qatari owners having all but matched the finances of Roman Abramovich to build a formidable squad.
For Yohan Cabaye, who only moved to PSG from Newcastle United in a reported 20 million euro deal in January, it affords a speedy return across the Channel where he will meet familiar faces in ex-Lille teammate Eden Hazard and Demba Ba, with whom he shared the dressing room at St James' Park.
"Chelsea and my brothers Demba Ba and Eden Hazard," Cabaye wrote on his official Twitter account. "We'll meet in a few days."
Meanwhile, Chelsea chief executive Ron Gourlay is also eagerly anticipating the tie, and is hoping that having the second leg at home will work in the club’s favour.
“It was always going to be tough when you looked at the teams who were left in the draw,” he told Chelsea's official website. “It's the top eight teams, Paris Saint-Germain is a very tough game but we'll be ready for the first match.
“Our form is good, we've got a lot of games between now and the end of the season. We're in a good position in the Premier League so we just need to take it one game at a time, try and win every game and see how everybody else does around us.
“We will treat Paris Saint-Germain with the utmost respect and hopefully we can go there, put on a show for our fans and bring it back to Stamford Bridge.”