The Telegraph
Wednesday , April 2 , 2014
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Mourinho hoping for an encore

Paris: Jose Mourinho’s first European match as Chelsea manager was against Paris St Germain and he will be hoping for the same outcome on Wednesday when the two sides clash for the Champions League quarter final first leg, here.

Mourinho had masterminded a 3-0 victory at Parc des Princes in the group stage in September 2004, and the two clubs then played out a goalless draw at Stamford Bridge just over two months later.

However, the prospect of facing PSG in the quarter finals of Europe’s premier club competition will be much more daunting for Mourinho when the sides renew their rivalry after a decade.

PSG must be ruthless in front of goal when they take on the 2012 winners Chelsea, coach Laurent Blanc said.

The Ligue 1 champions-elect are on an eight-game winning streak in all competitions but the former France centre-back knows Chelsea, under Mourinho, have the experience and defensive know-how to strangle any opposition. “We will have to be more efficient,” said Blanc. “We will have fewer chances and those we create we will have to convert.

“We know we need to be at another level,” he added.

Blanc’s expensively-assembled squad have no equals in the domestic league, leading second-placed Monaco by 13 points with seven games left this season.

PSG also sailed through to the knockout stages of the Champions League from a group featuring Anderlecht, Porto and Olympiakos Piraeus before dismissing Bayer Leverkusen in the last 16.

The key to both games against Chelsea could be Blanc’s red-hot striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

The Swedish international is the runaway leading scorer in Ligue 1 this term with 25 goals, 11 ahead of teammate Edinson Cavani and Alexandre Lacazette of Olympique Lyon who share second place.

Ibrahimovic has also excelled in the Champions League, bagging 10 goals in this season’s competition.

PSG, perhaps with one eye on the Chelsea game, produced a below-par performance at Nice on Friday and needed an own goal to secure a 1-0 win.

The Ligue 1 leaders are expected to be at full strength although they have a slight doubt over Thiago Silva. The Brazilian centre-back is likely to have to play in a facemask after fracturing his cheekbone 11 days ago.

Silva and full back Gregory van der Wiel, who is recovering from a knee injury, were rested against Nice.

Mourinho will be desperate for a reaction from his players after they delivered an abject show in Saturday’s 0-1 defeat at struggling Crystal Palace.

Chelsea were sluggish in midfield and toothless in attack, prompting the Portuguese to say their Premier League title ambitions were now a thing of the past.