Chelsea vs PSG: Diego Costa 'likes provoking' his opponents, warns Laurent Blanc

The PSG manager warns his defenders not to be drawn into battle with the Chelsea striker in Tuesday night's Champions League tie

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The Independent Online

Laurent Blanc has warned his defenders not to get drawn into a scrap with Diego Costa at Stamford Bridge tomorrow night.

Chelsea are favourites to reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League, with Paris Saint-Germain needing a high-scoring draw or a win tomorrow evening. While Blanc was confident in his players, insisting that they played better than Chelsea did at the Parc des Princes last month, he told them at this afternoon’s press conference at Stamford Bridge not to let Diego Costa drag them into anything unseemly.

“Diego Costa is a boy who loves the contact, loves the duels, and is very suited to the English game,” Blanc said. “He likes the challenge, the contact, and provoking opposition players. That's something he needs. He thrives off that. It's important not to get caught up in that.”

PSG will likely have Thiago Silva and David Luiz – compatriots of Costa - at centre-back and Blanc has advised them to keep cool even if Costa provokes them.

“I watched the Capital One Cup final against Tottenham and, right from the start, he was looking to do that,” Blanc said. “So the centre-backs playing around him have to be effective in stopping him. He's got good physicality, is technically good, but he tries to provoke a reaction. Always. Away from home, we have to be as effective as possible in trying to stop him.”

 

Blanc admitted that PSG have a difficult tactical balance to strike between pursuing the away goal they need and leaving themselves too exposed at the back.

“We have to come out and look to qualify,” Blanc said. “There were some encouraging signs in the first leg. We know we played better than them in that first leg. I have been frank about that. But we know Chelsea can play better tomorrow night. We have to attack and score, regardless of whether Chelsea score, and to be clever and try and play our game. We have to be solid and take our chances.”

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