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Thursday 14 December 2017

Laurent Blanc: We won't rise to Mourinho antics

Paris St Germain (PSG) coach Laurent Blanc (L) and player Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Paris St Germain (PSG) coach Laurent Blanc (L) and player Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Paris St Germain coach Laurent Blanc wants his players to keep their cool and not respond to Jose Mourinho's touchline antics when Chelsea visit the Parc des Princes in the last 16 of the Champions League tonight.

PSG squandered a 3-1 first leg quarter-final lead against Chelsea in last season's competition as Mourinho's men won the second leg 2-0 at Stamford Bridge to progress on away goals.

Demba Ba's late winner sent Mourinho, a coach who can sometimes goad the opposition, sprinting down the touchline in celebration and Blanc has told his players to expect more of the same this time.

"I know Jose Mourinho a bit and I know he'll raise the temperature on the pitch in this game," Blanc said.

Read More: Why David Luiz won't celebrate if he scores against old boys Chelsea

"My players need to be cold, they need to be calm and they must not react even when it is hot out there. We can't afford any yellow cards."

Blanc's side missed the chance to go top of Ligue 1 on Saturday after conceding twice in the last three minutes to draw 2-2 at home with Caen.

"It was a catastrophe at the weekend," the Frenchman said. "I think that every time there is something negative at PSG I am always held responsible.

Read More: Jose Mourinho to put his faith in Costa for PSG clash

"I will gladly take the responsibility for this if this means my team is a lot more focused on the Chelsea game. Anything can happen and I am always responsible for it so c'est la vie."

PSG are without injured trio Serge Aurier, Lucas Moura and Yohan Cabaye while Blaise Matuidi, Thiago Motta and Marquinhos will be assessed after training on Monday.

Despite struggling with injuries Blanc is confident his big-name players, including talismanic striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, will help them reach the last eight for the third season in a row.

"I think the two coaches will expect a lot from their teams and a lot from the leaders of their teams," he said.

"In big matches it's great players and great leaders who lift teams and even more so when you're a goalscorer like him (Ibrahimovic)."

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