Stamford Bridge chief makes PSG comparison.
Chelsea boos Jose Mourinho has likened the current PSG side to the team he managed at Stamford Bridge ten years ago, ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League clash between the clubs.
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The quarter-final first leg at the Parc des Princes is a repeat of Mourinho’s first European game in charge of Chelsea, when a Blues side containing Petr Cech, John Terry and Frank Lampard won 3-0 in the group stage in September 2004.
Back then, while PSG struggled to live in the shadows of Lyon in their domestic game, Chelsea were emerging as a major power in Europe a year on from the arrival of Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich as owner.
Under Mourinho, the Blues never made it beyond the semi-finals in the Champions League, a trophy they finally won in 2012 before also winning the Europa League last season.
But while Chelsea are now firmly established as one of Europe’s elite, PSG are less than three years into an ambitious project led by their mega-rich Qatari owners, something which reminds Mourinho of what he first walked into at Stamford Bridge.
“You can find similarities. When Mr Abramovich bought the club he was ready and keen and the football rules were open to that, so the investment was important,” the Portuguese told Chelsea’s official website.
“Ours’ was probably the most important investment in that period and as a consequence of that Chelsea built year after year some of the best teams in European football.
“Paris is doing the same, some people don’t understand very well how it will look with Financial Fair Play, but the reality is that in the last two years the investment was massive, that the choice of players was fantastic.
“Leonardo (the former sporting director) started here a fantastic period of spending money but buying the right players.
“At this moment, the team is full of really good players, the passion in the city is also good and the Parc des Princes is a beautiful place to play.
“Now they are dominant in France the same way Chelsea was chasing season after season the Champions League, reaching semi-finals and finals. They are doing the same and they want to win.”
Kind of mind game Mourinho also claimed PSG are favourites to win the tie, despite the differing levels of experience between the clubs and their respective managers.
“I don’t think experience plays a big role. Maybe Paris as a club over the last decade doesn’t have the same experience but you go player by player and the picture is not like that.
“Thiago (Silva), Alex, (Thiago) Motta, Maxwell, Ibrahimovic, (Edinson) Cavani, all of them, they have big experience in the competition.
“In our case, as a club we are in the Champions League season after season and we have a nucleus of players who’ve played lots of games but we also have others with no experience.”
While PSG can call upon two strikers, in Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Cavani, who have scored a grand total of 61 goals between them this season, Chelsea continue to have problems in attack.
Samuel Eto’o, who has scored 11 times since moving to Stamford Bridge at the start of the season, did not form part of the 19-man squad that travelled to Paris on Tuesday lunchtime.
The Cameroon striker continues to struggle with a hamstring injury, so Fernando Torres is likely to lead the visitors’ attack.
Ashley Cole is also injured and January signings Nemanja Matic and Mohamed Salah are inelgible in Europe but Brazilian midfielder Ramires can play here while serving a domestic suspension.