Sunday 21 January 2018

PSG boss Laurent Blanc calls on players to 'take some risks' in Chelsea clash

Laurent Blanc
Laurent Blanc

Paris St Germain boss Laurent Blanc has called for calm in the anticipated cauldron of Stamford Bridge as his side bid to oust Chelsea in Wednesday night's Champions League last-16 second leg.

On the eve of the first leg three weeks ago Blanc spoke of Jose Mourinho being the arch provocateur and called for his players to keep their composure.

Now the PSG coach has warned of striker Diego Costa's combative nature and the need for his side to balance risk-taking with being difficult to beat in a tie finely poised at 1-1.

"He likes contact, and provokes opposition players. That's part of his game. He thrives off that," Blanc said of Costa.

"He really needs that to bring out the best in his performances. The most important thing is to not get caught up in the way he plays.

"He will try to provoke a reaction. We need to stay calm, not get caught up in his game. We need to be as effective as possible in stopping him.

"It's up to us to try to take some risks, but not lose our heads and take unnecessary risks.

"Paris St Germain need to stand up and be counted. We also need to stay in the game. That's the difficulty. Yes, we need to attack, yes, we need to create chances, but we also need to stay solid."

The Frenchmen, eliminated on away goals at Stamford Bridge last term when they let a 3-1 first-leg advantage slip, must score to advance to the quarter-finals for a third straight season.

Blanc avoided talk of revenge after Demba Ba's heroics last term - the striker's last-gasp goal earned Chelsea progress to the semi-finals - and called for his side to take their chances.

The PSG boss said: "Chelsea have a slight advantage, because they were able to score an away goal. It's up to us to try to do what Chelsea did in Paris.

"One of Chelsea's main threats is the fact they're very good on the counter attack, so I don't think we should go gung ho. We have to attack and we need to score a goal, regardless of whether Chelsea get one or not.

"I hope we do better than Chelsea did in the first leg. Chelsea created only one chance and they scored from that. I hope we create more than one chance."

Blanc hopes Thibaut Courtois is busy, but beaten, in Chelsea's goal.

Blanc added: "Their goalkeeper's performance was what allowed them to start as slight favourites going into the second leg. Over the 90 minutes PSG played better than Chelsea.

"If we create chances night and he plays very well again that will prove that PSG have once again been better than Chelsea."

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