Guus Hiddink envious of PSG’s strength in depth

Record signing Edison Cavani came off bench to score winner

PSG’s record signing Edison Cavani came off the bench to score the winner against Chelsea. Photograph: Afp

Guus Hiddink admitted he was left "envious" of the options available to the Paris Saint-Germain manager, Laurent Blanc, as Chelsea suffered the first defeat of his second spell in interim charge to trail 2-1 in their Champions League knockout tie.

Mikel John Obi's goal gives the Premier League champions hope for the second leg on 9 March, but PSG's dominant display eventually yielded a winner from Edinson Cavani, a £55m record signing who had started the evening among the substitutes. Blanc could fling on Javier Pastore and Adrien Rabiot before the end and, with Ángel Di María and Lucas Moura outstanding, the runaway Ligue 1 leaders will travel to Stamford Bridge with confidence.

Hiddink hopes he will have John Terry available for the return, when Eden Hazard and Oscar should have regained more match fitness. "There are some weeks to prepare for the second leg, even if we have a good and difficult game this weekend [against Manchester City in the FA Cup]," said the Dutchman. "I hope everyone is on board for the second leg of this game. But I have to say I envy the bench of PSG: a very strong bench, and a squad of 15 or 16 international players, which is very good. If you see what this team can bring on in the second half, world-class players as substitutes. This is a very strong PSG side, a very well built team given their total squad."

PSG's Qatari owners have actually spent marginally less on transfers over the first five years of their stewardship than Roman Abramovich did in the corresponding initial spell at Chelsea, but the sense that the home side had greater depth was inescapable. Hiddink was left to bemoan a lack of killer instinct on the counter-attack which has left his team playing catch-up in the tie. "We were not killing them in the four or five counters we had," he said. "We had to be more lethal. But, only losing 2-1, we're still in the race. It's not a dramatic loss.


“We had to reshuffle, of course, given we were without Terry and [KURT]Zouma, and with our full-backs in different positions, but I was happy with their performance and generally with our defensive discipline. Apart from the second goal,” Hiddink added. “You have to stay alert all the time and that was an example of an error slipping in. PSG have a nose for creating danger and know where you are most weak.”

Terry’s hamstring injury will be assessed at Cobham over the remainder of the weekbefore Sunday’s FA Cup fifth-round tie. “He had started training on Monday but it was not good,” added Hiddink, who has now suffered two losses in 34 matches in charge of Chelsea. “We’ll see. We must be careful as well. We don’t want him dropping back again into a longer period in injury. We’ll see tomorrow, Thursday and Friday how he is.”

(Guardian service)