Jose Mourinho reports that Samuel Eto’o is not 100% fit but has a chance of playing some part against PSG tomorrow evening in a tie he believes we can win. The Cameroonian trained outside but separate to the rest of the squad at Cobham this morning, having injured his hamstring in the win over Arsenal just over two weeks ago.
‘I don’t think he is fit, fit,’ said Mourinho. ‘But to play tomorrow? Maybe.’
We must overturn a two-goal deficit if we are to progress to the last four of this season’s Champions League and our manager gave his assessment of the tie with 24 hours until the second leg starts at Stamford Bridge.
‘If you ask me if I think we are going to win tomorrow, yes I think we are. That’s the most important thing to listen to. In the end of the two legs I think we are going to score more goals than them, pure mathematics. By the end it can be 4-3 or 5-4 in our favour. If I don’t think that way I can go home tomorrow.
‘My reasons to believe? The reasons are not important, the belief is important. I believe and my players believe. That is the most important thing.
‘We have to enjoy the risk of the situation. At 9.30pm we can be out – and we know that we have this risk – but at 7.45pm we have a chance to be in the semi-final. At 7.45pm we have to have a smile on our face, going, playing, giving everything, and seeing what happens at 9.30pm. At 7.45pm we will believe we can do it.’
His message was clear but Mourinho had more difficulty explaining how the match might pan out, even factoring in his extensive Champions League experience.
‘I’ve played 115 or 120 matches in the Champions League and I still can’t say how the game is going to be. I don’t know. We need to win. The players have to show their quality, their confidence, the ambition – all these qualities that make these players and the team play at the top level.
‘In Paris we expected for example PSG to play very well, control the game and be very dangerous. We were dangerous to ourselves; we scored half of the first goal, we scored the second goal and the third goal, plus our goal. We scored three and a half goals in that match and it was not that Paris played very well.
‘They can say they come to attack and maybe they don’t cross the midfield line. Maybe they say they come to defend and they find spaces and they score goals. We don’t know.
‘The only think I know is that if we don’t score a minimum of two goals we have no chance. If they score one we have to score three, if they score two we have to score five. This is all I know, the basic mathematics.’
The Portuguese reiterated that PSG’s lack of recent experience in the competition would not play a major role because a number of their players had gone far in the Champions League prior. Mourinho also explained that he doesn’t have a special plan for Thiago Motta, PSG’s midfield lynchpin, because we have to attack, while the absence for Paris of Zlatan Ibrahimovic through injury will not be a problem for the French champions because of their strength in depth.
A wonderful Stamford Bridge atmosphere could be important tomorrow but as our boss pointed out, it is up to those on the pitch to first galvanise those in the stands.
‘We need the supporters but we know that without us performing it’s difficult for them to support,’ Mourinho said. ‘They know that normally at home we play well, so I think they also have a hope we can do that.
‘They understand if they can push us a little that push is welcome, but I think everything starts with us and if we can show that we can do it I think they will come with us.’