Paris, Feb 17 (IANS) Chelsea manager Guus Hiddink is upbeat about his team’s chances of entering the Champions League quarter-finals despite being defeated by Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) in the first leg of the last-16 stage here.
Star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic on Tuesday put PSG ahead at the Parc des Princes before John Obi Mikel’s goal in first-half stoppage time pulled Chelsea level. But Edinson Cavani’s 78th minute strike ensured that PSG won the first leg 2-1. PSG will now travel to London for the second leg on March 10.
“A defeat is never a good or nice feeling, but it’s a two-legged game and scoring away is always good, We reflect on that, and on the very good tactical and defensive organisation,” Hiddink told the media after the game.
“We had some danger also. We were not killing in the four or five counters we had and we could have gone a bit further than that, but, losing 2-1, we’re still in the race,” he added.
“It’s 50-50 still. Okay, we start again and if you take the emotion out a bit and analyse the game well, and our opponents were a very good and strong team, I say 50-50.”
Although the hosts dominated most of the match, Chelsea forward Diego Costa forced two crucial saves from PSG goalkeeper Kevin Trapp. Hiddink admitted his team were unlucky not to emerge from Paris with a more positive result.
“We had the possibilities, one or two chances before the equaliser to hurt them. They were a bit unstable in the way they played. We were nervous in the first 10 minutes and forgot to play, but we were a little bit unlucky in our finishing and with our last pass,” he said.
Hiddink however, admitted that he is envious of the kind of bench-strength available to his PSG counterpart Laurent Blanc.
“I hope everyone is on board for the second leg of this game. But I have to say I envy the bench of PSG: a very strong bench, and a squad of 15 or 16 international players, which is very good. If you see what this team can bring on in the second half, world-class players as substitutes. This is a very strong PSG side, a very well built team given their total squad,” the 69-year-old Dutchman said.