Blanc says PSG facing tough schedule ahead of Chelsea tie

Paris, Dec 15 (IANS) Paris Saint-Germain coach Laurent Blanc hopes a “complicated” schedule won’t hinder them from defeating Chelsea en route to the Champions League last eight stage.

According to the draw made in Nyon, Switzerland, on Monday, the Ligue 1 defending champions are due to meet the English Premier League winners in the Champions League knockout stage for the third straight time, reports Xinhua.

Last season, Blanc’s side eked out 1-1 and 2-2 draws to seal an aggregate win on away goals, following a quite similiar but vise-versa result from the 2013-2014 season in the quarterfinals where PSG won 3-1 at home but lost 2-0 away.

Both PSG and Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea are defending their respective domestic league titles this season, but Les Parisiens are leading with a 17-point margin while the Londoners are struggling on the 16th.

Blanc, however, refused to foresee a rosier routine for PSG. He told psg.fr in a video interview following the draw: “It’s the third time we’re going to face them. The advantage is we know them well, but they know us too.

“It will be a great two-legged tie between two good teams. We cannot wait to be there, even if we know that this is still a bit far, in February.

“We still have many matches ahead of us by then, including a January that looks complicated. The schedule will be very tight, I hope that everyone will be healthy to face Chelsea and fulfil our objectives,” he added.

PSG defender Thiago Silva echoed his coach and warned his teammates to remain on their guard.

“Like last season, we hope to qualify,” said the Brazilian. “It will be difficult but if we want to win the Champions League, we have to win against all teams.

“I think it will be even harder than last season. We know the Chelsea players, and we know they will give everything to get to the knockout stage. But we hope to celebrate the qualification.”

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