Champions League: Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho praises Paris Saint-Germain
Last Updated: 02/04/14 9:23am
Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has paid tribute to Paris Saint-Germain ahead of Wednesday's Champions League quarter-final first leg in France.
Last week Mourinho upset Laurent Blanc, manager of the reigning French champions, by suggesting it was easy to win Ligue 1, but with 24 hours before kick-off at the Parc des Princes, the Portuguese coach was on a charm offensive.
The match is a repeat of Mourinho's first European game in charge of Chelsea, which a side containing Petr Cech, John Terry and Frank Lampard won 3-0 in the group stage in September 2004 as recently-arrived owner Roman Abramovich began to reap the rewards of his investment.
With Chelsea now firmly established as one of Europe's elite, PSG are less than three years into an ambitious project led by their mega-rich Qatari owners, something which reminds Mourinho of what he first walked into at Stamford Bridge.
"You can find similarities. When Mr Abramovich bought the club he was ready and keen and the football rules were open to that, so the investment was important," said Mourinho.
"Ours was probably the most important investment in that period and as a consequence of that Chelsea built year after year some of the best teams in European football.
"Paris is doing the same, some people don't understand very well how it will look with Financial Fair Play, but the reality is that in the last two years the investment was massive, that the choice of players was fantastic.
"Leonardo (former sporting director) started here a fantastic period of spending money but buying the right players. At this moment, the team is full of really good players, the passion in the city is also good and the Parc des Princes is a beautiful place to play.
It's a team full of fantastic strikers and goalscorers and that is what really makes the difference in this level.
"Now they are dominant in France the same way Chelsea was chasing season after season the Champions League, reaching semi-finals and finals. They are doing the same and they want to win."
In Tuesday's press conference, when asked to name his side for the quarter-final, the Chelsea boss was a little more cautious with his opinions and read out the first five names on the team-sheet.
"Petr Cech, (Branislav) Ivanovic, (John) Terry, (Gary) Cahill and (Cesar) Azpilicueta," he added.
Mourinho, who insists the hosts are favourites, continued the compliments of Blanc's team, stating: "It's a team full of fantastic strikers and goalscorers and that is what really makes the difference in this level.
"You look to the teams in the top eight at this moment, all of them good teams, good structures, with a certain philosophy, but after that you go and you see (Barcelona's Lionel) Messi, (Real Madrid's Cristiano) Ronaldo, (Borussia Dortmund's Robert) Lewandowski, Diego Costa, Ibrahimovic, (Edison) Cavani, (Ezequiel) Lavezzi.
"They (PSG) have lots of them. At this level it's a very important part of a team."
Fernando Torres is likely to start up front for Chelsea in the continued absence of Samuel Eto'o.
Eto'o (hamstring) and Ashley Cole (knee) did not travel to the French capital, with Dutch youngster Nathan Ake providing cover at left-back for Cesar Azpilicueta, who became a father on Monday.
Ramires is free to play despite a game remaining of his domestic suspension, but Nemanja Matic and Mohamed Salah are ineligible having played for Benfica and Basle, respectively, earlier in the competition.
Paris St Germain v Chelsea is live on Sky Sports 1HD on Wednesday, kick-off 7.45pm