Mourinho plays up PSG as favourites

Jose Mourinho believes PSG are favourites for Wednesday's Champions League quarter-final first leg because of their renowned forward line.

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho

Mourinho has previously on occasions revealed his team on the eve of matches, but declined to do so ahead of the Parc des Princes clash, screwing up a piece of paper theatrically after suggesting the UEFA interpreter sitting alongside him had guessed the Chelsea line-up correctly.

He had been prepared to name his goalkeeper and defence, but no more.

It was metaphoric, for all season Mourinho has bemoaned the quality of his strike-force.

Again, following last Saturday's loss at Crystal Palace, which saw him concede defeat in the Premier League title race, the Blues boss outlined his intention to overhaul his forward line this summer.

As if to illustrate Chelsea are comparative paupers to PSG's princes, Mourinho listed the men he considers to be the leading forwards in Europe, three of whom play for the Parisiens.

Mourinho said: "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, (Atletico Madrid's) Diego Costa, (Zlatan) Ibrahimovic, (Edison) Cavani, (Ezequiel) Lavezzi.

"They (PSG) have lots of them."

Fernando Torres is likely to start up front for Chelsea as Samuel Eto'o (hamstring) did not travel and Demba Ba has been used sparingly this season.

What Mourinho would give to have a player of the calibre of Ibrahimovic, whom he coached for one season at Inter Milan and who will be in opposition on Wednesday night, content that he will never play in the Premier League.

Mourinho, a Champions League winner with Porto in 2004 and Inter Milan in 2010, said: "During one year the relationship was phenomenal.

"The only time we disagreed it was obvious, because I wanted him to stay at Inter and he wanted to leave for Barcelona."

Ibrahimovic earlier indicated he will end his career without ever playing in the Premier League.

Mourinho said: "I think it's a pity for him. His career is so rich and so full of success that I think he can be considered as one of the greatest players, even if he never played in the Premier League."

Ibrahimovic insisted PSG would be his final big contract - and his last chance to win the European Cup, a glaring omission on his distinguished CV.

"To win it I will have to win it with Paris," said Ibrahimovic, who is under contract at the Parc des Princes until 2016.

"It's impossible to get me to England. The day I stop with football it will not be that I look back and I say to myself: 'Maybe I should've played in England.'

"I made stories in other countries. It's nothing that I regret."

It may be Ibrahimovic is joined in Paris by Eden Hazard, with PSG boss Laurent Blanc continuing the courtship of the Belgian by expressing admiration.

"He's still very young, he has a lot of room for development and I foresee a very bright future," Blanc said.



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