Jose Mourinho claimed tonight that his Chelsea team could out-score Paris Saint-Germain and reach the Champions League semi-finals, despite the fact that he is considering Samuel Eto’o as his starting striker, although the 33-year-old is not fully fit.
It is yet another indication of the lack of faith in his alternative striking options, including Fernando Torres and Demba Ba, that Mourinho signalled he was ready to risk Eto'o on Tuesday night, who has not played a game since he injured his hamstring against Arsenal on 22 March. Trailing 3-1 from the first leg, Mourinho admitted that Eto'o was not, in his words "fit-fit" but that he was still a possibility to start the game ahead of Torres, who played 90 minutes against Stoke City on Saturday.
Downbeat, and admitting he was a little "grumpy", Mourinho said he still had Eto'o in mind for the game at Stamford Bridge. In response to a question about the fitness of Eto'o, he said: "Fit-fit, I don't think he is. But play [against PSG]? Maybe. Maybe." Eto'o has 30 career goals in the Champions League, three of them this season for Chelsea. Torres also has three in the competition this season.
Pushed on whether he believed that Chelsea could eliminate PSG, who have never been past the quarter-finals of the competition in their history, Mourinho roused himself to say that he still believed his side could prevail, although this was a long way from his most ebullient press conference. Having said after the first leg that he would have won the game with the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Ezequiel Lavezzi and Edinson Cavani in his squad, he said this time that he believed his team could score the goals required.
Chelsea v PSG: 10 reasons why Chelsea can still reach the Champions League semi-finals
Chelsea v PSG: 10 reasons why Chelsea can still reach the Champions League semi-finals
1/10 Mourinho doesn't lose in the last eight
The Portuguese has lost none of the eight European two-legged quarter-final ties he has managed in. On three of those occasions, Mourinho's teams went all the way, winning the Uefa Cup with Porto in 2003 and adding the Champions League a year later. He won the European Cup for the second time while at Inter Milan in 2010.
2/10 Chelsea's home record
The Blues have won 11 of their last 13 home Champions League games - with their only defeat coming at home to FC Basel in this year's competition. Chelsea average almost three goals a game over that period - they need to score at least twice on Tuesday night to have any chance of progressing.
3/10 Samuel Eto'o might be back
Chelsea have missed the Cameroonian striker since he strained his hamstring against Arsenal - winning only one of their next three games. Eto'o is Chelsea's joint top scorer in the Champions League this season and has won the tournament three times. He could play a role at Stamford Bridge after taking part in training on Monday morning.
4/10 They have done it before
In 2012, Chelsea looked to be on their way out of the Champions League at the last-16 stage after a 3-1 loss against an Ezequiel Lavezzi-inspired Napoli in Italy. But they turned the tie around in the return leg, Branislav Ivanovic's extra-time winner ensuring a thrilling 4-1 victory and a place in the quarter-finals. Chelsea went on to win the Champions League that season and won the Europa League the next year - overturning another first-leg defeat, this time against Steaua Bucharest, en route to the final.
5/10 French teams struggle to score in SW6
All but one of Chelsea's last five home matches against French opposition have yielded clean sheets. The exception was AS Monaco, who drew 2-2 at Stamford Bridge in 2004 - a result which secured a place in the final, where they were beaten by Mourinho's Porto.
6/10 And Chelsea rarely concede
Javier Hernandez was the last opposition player to score at Stamford Bridge - and that was in mid-January. Since then, Chelsea have kept eight clean sheets in all competitions at home, going over 12 hours without conceding a goal.
7/10 Zlatan is injured
Ibrahimovic may have been quiet in the first leg but the Swede has enjoyed an extremely productive season so far, scoring 40 goals in all competitions. His absence will take away from PSG's attacking threat - though they do still have Edinson Cavani and Ezequiel Lavezzi in their ranks.
8/10 Chelsea do well when hosting French opposition
The Blues' last two home matches against teams from France have seen them score six goals and concede none. Chelsea have scored at least twice in three of their last five games against French sides at Stamford Bridge.
9/10 Blanc has lost at the Bridge before
The last time PSG manager Laurent Blanc visited SW6, while in charge of Bordeaux in 2008, Chelsea won 4-0, with Frank Lampard among the goals.
10/10 Chelsea are full of goals on their own patch
The Blues may need to score twice to have any chance of going through but they can take confidence from the fact that they have scored at least two goals in 19 of their last 25 home matches in all competitions.
Mourinho said: "They [PSG] have what they have, we have what we have. If you ask me if I think we'll win, yes, I think so. I think so. That's the most important thing for you to hear. I think we are going to win, really. I think, at the end of the two legs, we'll have scored more goals than them. Pure mathematics. It is 3-1 now, but in the end I think it can be 4-3, or 5-4. If I didn't think that, I wouldn't go to the game, and I'm happy to go."
The mood of Mourinho suggested that the limitations he is facing with his squad as the season reaches its decisive moments are starting to wear at his patience. Certainly, it is difficult to see where the goals will come from. André Schürrle was the designated player for the Uefa press conference but there can be no certainties that the Germany international will start the game.
There appeared to be no grand plan pre-match from Mourinho to try to put the pressure on PSG, other than to say that there was an expectation that Chelsea would not progress. "I think if Paris are knocked out it will be a big disappointment for them," he said. "If we are knocked out it's something that, at this moment, lots of people are expecting. That's why I say we have to enjoy the risk of the situation."
Nevertheless, the pressure is on Mourinho, regardless of the power that PSG have had in the transfer market since their acquisition by Qatar. Chelsea have reached the semi-finals in six of the previous 10 Champions League seasons. They have also overcome a 3-1 deficit in the recent past with that 4-1 victory over Napoli in the second leg of the round of 16 two years ago under Roberto Di Matteo, who eventually won the trophy.
It is in ties like these that a manager of Mourinho's quality is expected to make the difference and, however the supporters feel about the man in charge, there is always less sympathy in defeat from those who run Chelsea. Mourinho has never lost a quarter-final tie in either the Champions League or what was then the Uefa Cup when he was manager of Porto in 2003.
He is without Ramires, who is suspended for one game, as well as the ineligible Nemanja Matic and Mohamed Salah, both signed in January. As a consequence he said that there were no excuses for PSG, who are without the injured Ibrahimovic.
"Eto'o didn't play the first game, and I'm not sure he plays the second game," Mourinho said. "Ramires is suspended. Matic and Salah can't play in the Champions League. And we are not crying. So the fact that a multimillionaire club that buys players and players doesn't have one important player like Ibrahimovic I don't think is a problem."
It will be interesting to see how Mourinho sets up his team to play PSG, with a role to fill in midfield alongside David Luiz. He has the choice of John Obi Mikel or Frank Lampard, with the latter by far the more likely to score a goal on a night when Chelsea desperately need them. He does have a Portuguese referee Pedro Proenca in charge of the game, although Mourinho was at pains to point out that it was not the first time a manager had shared nationality with an official.
"The fact he's Portuguese and you mention it surprises me because I played a Champions League semi-final against Liverpool [in 2007, second leg] with a Spanish manager [Rafa Benitez] and had a Spanish referee [Manuel Mejuto Gonzalez]. I played last season against Manchester City [in the group stages] with an Italian referee [Gianluca Rocchi] and an Italian manager [Roberto Mancini]. And that's European football.'
Invited to stress the importance of the home crowd getting behind their players, Mourinho simply said that it would require his team to spark the mood. "Everything starts with us," he said although, as of Monday night, Mourinho himself was not prepared to start anything.
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