Mourinho refuses to reveal team

The Bolton News: Jose Mourinho is keeping his line-up under wraps Jose Mourinho is keeping his line-up under wraps

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho expressed affection for Zlatan Ibrahimovic, questioned Paris St Germain's lavish spending in the era of Financial Fair Play and declined to reveal his starting XI on the eve of the Champions League quarter-final first leg at Parc des Princes.

Mourinho was asked to replicate his memorable moment on the eve of a Champions League last 16 tie at Barcelona in February 2005 and list the two sides for the following day's match.

The Chelsea boss deferred to the UEFA interpreter on his right, suggesting he had guessed the visitors' line-up correctly and read out the first five names on the team-sheet.

"Petr Cech, (Branislav) Ivanovic, (John) Terry, (Gary) Cahill and (Cesar) Azpilicueta," said Mourinho, who opened his eve-of-match media conference by announcing Azpilicueta had become a father on Monday to a girl, Martina.

Asked to read further, Mourinho screwed up the piece of paper.

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, who insists the hosts are favourites, 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, 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 as Samuel Eto'o (hamstring) did not travel and Demba Ba has been used sparingly this season.

Ashley Cole (knee) also did not travel, meaning Dutch youngster Nathan Ake is back-up to Azpilicueta.

The Spain full-back was smiling widely after the arrival of his daughter and now hopes to return with a victory.

Azpilicueta said: "I want to play. Yesterday was a beautiful day for me.

"But now I know that my two girls are okay and I came with my head clean to train today, to play tomorrow and to get back with a good result so everyone will be happy."

Mourinho's first European match as Chelsea boss in his first spell was a 3-0 win at PSG in September 2004.

However, the mega-rich Parisiens are a different proposition now.

PSG are unbeaten in 28 European home games, since Hapoel Tel-Aviv won 4-2 in the UEFA Cup group stage in November 2006.

Mourinho led Chelsea through the early years of owner Roman Abramovich's revolution and was asked to compare then with PSG.

"You can find similarities," Mourinho said.

"When Mr Abramovich bought the club he was ready and keen and the football rules were open to that, so the investment was important, was probably the most important investment in that period.

"As a consquence of that Chelsea build year after year some of the best teams in European football.

"Paris is doing the same. Some people doesn't understand very well how because it looks like the Financial Fair Play is going to be in practice, but the reality is that in the last two years the investment was massive.

"The choice of the players was fantastic. In this moment the team is very complete and is full of very good players."

Mourinho insists Chelsea are underdogs as they bid to book their place in a seventh semi-final in 11 campaigns.

He says, individually, the PSG players have plenty of European experience, including his former striker Ibrahimovic.

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.

"We are friends, we will keep like that. We respect each other.

"Tomorrow he wants to win, I want to win, that's the nature of football."

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."

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