Chelsea suffered yet another setback in the first leg of a Champions League knockout match, but interim manager Guus Hiddink reckons that his side remains in contention to reach the quarter-finals. A 2-1 score means that the Blues have the cushion of an away goal, but only time will tell if this is significant in the face of an impressive attack that Paris St Germain have in their ranks.
Just like in most European away games, Chelsea were under the cosh for much of the 90 minutes. Apart from the odd counter-attacks and spell of possessions, PSG were clearly the better team through the 90 minutes.
John Obi Mikel may have led to the opening goal through an act of cowardice, but he soon made up for his mistake by coming up with an excellent goal. Diego Costa had a couple of good opportunities to score, but his mask appeared to be a hindrance on the night. Costa could not create much on his own, as he was kept rather quiet by the impressive Thiago Silva and, former Blue, David Luiz. Hiddink said:
The return leg is at Stamford Bridge on March 9. Chelsea have previously achieved bigger comebacks in the past, but that was an entirely different team. The current Chelsea team relies on a handful of names to get them through. There are still several players like Eden Hazard, who have to rise several notches.
Hiddink witnessed a young PSG team being able to get a late winner. Laurent Blanc rested much of his team during the weekend and the team clearly benefited a lot. It remains to be seen if Hiddink will also repeat the same ahead of the return leg. The hopes of finishing in the top four have almost surely gone leaving the Blues to focus on the two remaining cup competitions.
The return of John Terry and Nemanja Matic should provide the blues with some much needed strength in depth for the return leg.
Chelsea host Manchester City in the fifth round of the FA Cup this weekend.