Champions League

Blanc: PSG and Chelsea 'evenly matched'

Laurent Blanc (File)
Laurent Blanc (File)

Cape Town - Paris Saint-Germain manager Laurent Blanc is expecting a tight and evenly-contested match in their Champions League clash with Chelsea on Tuesday.

The Round of 16 first-leg at Parc des Princes will be the third consecutive time the Blues have met their Parisian rivals in the knockout rounds of the competitions, and the French coach is confident that his side are slowly making progress in Europe.

"The two teams are evenly matched," Blanc said.

"[Chelsea manager Guus Hiddink] has a lot of experience in the Champions League. He has brought calm and serenity to the club. They're getting back to form and they're building in confidence.

"It will be delicate, tight, aggressive… Our intention is to impose our game. Our players are getting to know each other better and better, and some players who have won the Champions League with other clubs have joined us.

"We're boxing in a weight class that's very unusual for a French team. That's where Paris Saint-Germain need to prove that progress is being made. I think Paris' reputation as a powerful team is growing overseas. That proves that we're on the right track."

Blanc also said "I have two uncertainties: right-back and one other position," in reference to Serge Aurier, the Ivory Coast international who was suspended by the club for using homophobic slurs to insult Blanc and others.

"I took it very badly," the former World Cup winner said. "I think everyone can have their opinion but, two years ago, I really went to bat with my directors to bring Serge to the club. And that's the thanks I get. I think it's pathetic.

"He has penalized himself. He should have been preparing for a Champions League last-16  tie. What I'm not admitting is that it penalises the club as well. He will have to accept the consequences for himself, but he has also hurt the club by saying what he said."

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