Jose Mourinho has raised the stakes ahead of tonight's Champions League last-16 second-leg tie with Paris Saint-Germain by claiming that the French champions are the dirtiest team Chelsea have faced this season.
Eden Hazard was fouled a record-breaking nine times in the first leg at the Parc des Princes and Mourinho was far from impressed.
"I was surprised because a team with fantastic players was the team with a record number of fouls, was the team making foul after foul, was the team which stopped Hazard with fouls all the time, was the team attacking the man in possession of the ball with two or three players with some very aggressive actions.
"Even a player like Zlatan [Ibrahimovic], a typical attacking player, came back when they lost the ball and attacked Hazard from behind when we were countering.
"I thought an English team would never be surprised by aggression, because aggression we have in our country.
"This season we've played against sides from the Championship, against teams from League One and Shrewsbury from League Two, but the most aggressive team was PSG.
"For me, that was a real surprise. With players of such quality, I was expecting more football and less aggression."
Mourinho further wound up the French by suggesting that Chelsea have more competitive games in their training sessions than the French champions do in Ligue 1.
Mourinho's team have not played since they defeated West Ham 1-0 last Wednesday, while PSG beat Lens 4-1 in the French League last Saturday - a game that the Chelsea manager said had a lower intensity than his squad's training session on the same day.
It was a remark that formed part of an answer to the question of whether the Premier League could claim to be the strongest league in the world if Chelsea were the only English side who made it into the last eight of the Champions League.
"I think so," Mourinho said. "Do you imagine for example, in the quarter-finals, looking to the fixtures, the English team in the Champions League competing with Bayern Munich that has 11-points advantage?
"They can play with a second team [in the Bundesliga] without any kind of pressure.
"Even PSG, I saw their game last Saturday. I think our training session on Saturday was harder than their game on Saturday.
"My players on Sunday, they were resting from the hard training session on the Saturday. I think on Sunday their [PSG] players were not resting from their game against Lens. It's more difficult for English clubs.
"Do you think it's normal where Everton are [14th] in the Premier League? It's not normal, but they play every Thursday in the Europa League and travel and come back and play again on Sundays.
"This league is very difficult and the Champions League is a completely different situation."
With the tie delicately poised at 1-1 from the first leg in Paris on February 17, Mourinho also said that his team did not need the same bonus incentive that will see the PSG players paid €250,000each for prevailing in the tie.
The Chelsea manager said that he was paid bonuses only for winning trophies and had not been on a bonus programme based on round-by-round progression since he was manager of Porto.
Mourinho said: "The club pay us a very good salary to do our job the best we can. We do that job as best we can.
"If we take the club into quarter-finals, semi-finals, finals, but we don't win the competition, we are doing a very good job for the club financially.
"I don't think we should get extra money, on top of our salaries, if we don't win the last prize."
The Chelsea manager said that nothing could match the satisfaction he felt at winning trophies, and that he would "pay to win" - pay with his own money to experience that feeling of victory, were that possible.
"When you win [a trophy], you can get an extra bonus like people do in other walks of life, like in some companies when you reach certain objectives.
"That happens in many areas of society. You reach certain objectives and people get extra payments, reaching some targets or numbers.
"That's fine. But football is about our passion for the game, the happiness and the pride of victories. They have no price." (© Daily Telegraph, London)
Chelsea v PSG, live, RTE2 and Sky Sports 5, 7.45pm