Friday 15 December 2017

'We are still in the race'- Hiddink says Mikel away goal at PSG keeps Chelsea alive in tie

Chelsea's Dutch coach Guus Hiddink watches his players during the Champions League round of 16 first leg football match between Paris Saint-Germain. AFP PHOTO
Chelsea's Dutch coach Guus Hiddink watches his players during the Champions League round of 16 first leg football match between Paris Saint-Germain. AFP PHOTO
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Chelsea interim coach Guus Hiddink suggested his side’s away goal in the first leg of their Champions League clash against Paris Saint-Germain could be decisive in the outcome of the tie.

A late Edinson Cavani goal dented Chelsea’s hopes of making progress to the quarter-finals of Europe’s elite competition as they went down to a 2-1 first leg defeat, yet a rare John Obi Mikel first half strike will fuel their hopes of plotting a route to the last-eight.

"The result is negative but on the other hand an away goal is important,” Hiddink told BT Sport. “It hurt a bit because the team was playing decently against a team with capacity to play. But we are still in the race.

"We were not lethal enough at times but otherwise we can be relatively happy. "We didn't moan a lot about the absence of players and the rest got the confidence and did what they were asked.

"Over two legs, it is important you have the away goal. If we can do it at Stamford Bridge then a defeat doesn't count so much.

Meanwhile, former Chelsea defender Michael Ballack suggested the Blues lack of form in recent months means they need to rebuild their confidence as they target an improbable Champions League triumph.

“You could see in some parts of the game, the confidence is not there over 90 minutes,” said Ballack. "They had some moments when they pass the ball around and the old Chelsea comes back, but then the old problems come back.”


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