Jose Mourinho is confident that his Chelsea side can overcome a 3-1 deficit against Paris Saint-Germain to reach the last four of the Champions League and hinted that Samuel Eto’o could play some part despite not being fully fit.
Eto’o was absent in Paris when a striker-less Chelsea succumbed to two second-half goals that give the run-away Ligue 1 leaders a significant edge heading to Stamford Bridge for the second leg of the sides’ quarterfinal tie. Despite his squad, which has often struggled for goals this season, needing to score at least twice to progress, Mourinho sounded a positive tone about their chances.
“If you ask me if I think we are going to win tomorrow, yes I think we are,” he explained, according to Chelsea’s official website. “That's the most important thing to listen to. In the end of the two legs I think we are going to score more goals than them, pure mathematics. By the end it can be 4-3 or 5-4 in our favor. If I don't think that way I can go home tomorrow.
“My reasons to believe? The reasons are not important, the belief is important. I believe and my players believe. That is the most important thing.”
Chelsea’s chances would certainly be enhanced by the availability of Eto’o, who has been the pick of the club’s much-derided trio of strikers this campaign. And having trained, albeit separately from his teammates, on Monday, Mourinho suggested that the veteran three-time Champions League winner would feature at some stage.
“I don't think he is fit, fit,” he said “But to play tomorrow? Maybe.”
Chelsea know all about comebacks from a 3-1 first-leg deficit, both for better and for worse. Indeed, Chelsea have been involved in the only occasions in Champions League history where the feat has been accomplished -- losing out to Barcelona at the Camp Nou in 2000 and triumphing over Napoli on their way to lifting the trophy two years ago. In both cases extra-time was needed.
PSG will be determined to avoid adding to that statistic on Tuesday as they look to reach the last four of Europe’s premier competition for only the second time in their history and the first since the Qatari Investment Authority’s takeover made them an instant financial force. According to coach Laurent Blanc, his side will not be resting on their two-goal advantage at Stamford Bridge.
“We have the score from the first leg, and nothing else,” he explained, according to Paris Saint-Germain’s official website. “We have managed to score in every single Champions League match so far this season - I think that's a more interesting statistic. We know it's not going to be an easy game for us, but we haven't come here to sit back and defend.”
PSG will have to attempt to secure their progress without their talisman Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The Swedish striker is ruled out with a thigh injury picked up in the first leg and could be replaced by the speedy Brazilian Lucas Moura or the playmaking talents of Javier Pastore, who scored what could yet prove to be PSG’s vital third goal in injury time at the Parc des Princes.
Chelsea will be without the suspended Ramires, while January signings Nemanja Matic and Mohamed Salah are ineligible.
D: Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta
M: Lampard, David Luiz
Willian, Oscar, Hazard
D: Jallet, Alex, Thiago Silva, Maxwell
M: Verratti, Motta, Matuidi
F: Lucas, Cavani, Lavezzi
Where to watch: The second leg of the Champions League quarterfinal will kick off at 2.45 p.m. ET. Coverage will be provided by Fox Sports 1, with a live stream available via Fox Soccer 2Go.