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Chelsea has better defense, more knowhow than PSG

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 1, 2014 at 11:43 am •  Published: April 1, 2014
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PARIS (AP) — Paris Saint-Germain is on the verge of its first Champions League semifinal in 19 years. In that context, Chelsea must feel like it was in the semis yesterday.

Having won the Champions League in 2012 and the Europa League last year, Chelsea has a pedigree that PSG envies.

Among the quarterfinalists, Chelsea boasts the joint tightest defense while PSG has the second most prolific attack behind Real Madrid. The Blues won't be unsettled if PSG dominates ball possession as they proved clinical on the fast break in the 6-0 rout of Arsenal on March 22.

"We won't change our game to prevent counterattacks, otherwise we would play with 10 men behind the ball and that's not our game," PSG coach Laurent Blanc said.

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho said: "I watched many matches of Paris and I think Laurent has a clear philosophy... We are the same. We're not going tomorrow to play with five defenders."

Here are five things to know about Wednesday's match:

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MIND GAMES: Mourinho portrayed his team as the underdog despite evidence to the contrary. "Of course they are favorites," Mourinho said of PSG. "The second leg is an advantage for the team that plays away, because if you go to extra time they have 30 more minutes to score one goal that counts double." Blanc didn't take the bait: "I won't get into that game. I'm not making any comment on what Jose said, otherwise you're going to make headlines, and that's exactly what someone wants." PSG players were happier to comment, but also contrasting. Midfielder Javier Pastore: "Chelsea has played in the Champions League for many seasons while it's only our second straight season. We have a good team too, but I think Chelsea is the favorite." Defender Christophe Jallet disagreed: "There's no favorite. We start on an equal footing. Then we'll see after the first leg."

MOMENTUM: PSG and Chelsea had opposing fortunes last weekend. PSG moved closer to the French league title by edging Nice 1-0 on Friday to win its ninth straight game in all competitions and extend its lead to 13 points. Chelsea lost ground in the English Premier League race with a 1-0 defeat at Crystal Palace on Saturday to trail leader Liverpool by two points. Mourinho wrote off Chelsea's title chances, but the standings say a different story.

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