LONDON (Reuters) - Paris St Germain’s victory over Chelsea in the Champions league was a turning-point in their history, coach Laurent Blanc said on Wednesday.
PSG survived the early sending-off of talismanic striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic to battle to a 2-2 draw after extra time and reach the last eight of Europe’s premier club competition for the second season in a row.
“PSG want to become one of Europe’s top clubs. In the future, this match will be seen as a turning-point in the club’s history,” Blanc told reporters.
Qatar Sports Investments became PSG’s majority shareholder in 2011 and sole shareholder in 2012, making them one of the richest clubs in the world.
They have signed marquee players like Ibrahimovic, Thiago Silva and Edinson Cavani and have been French champions for the past two years but they are still desperate to make a mark in Europe.
Blanc said his team had been better than Chelsea over both matches, the first was drawn 1-1 in Paris, and that they had not been distracted by the unfortunate dismissal of Ibrahimovic for a late, but not malicious, tackle on Chelsea midfielder Oscar.
“At halftime I was really surprised at how calm my players were,” Blanc said.
”I really had the feeling that the team had the desire to carry on and win the match.
“Matches at the highest level are full of pressure and tension,” Blanc added. “Things do go on on both sides. Both sides put pressure on the opposition, and Chelsea did their fair share of that.”
PSG fought back after Gary Cahill had put Chelsea ahead on 81 minutes, David Luiz heading in against his former team to take the tie to extra time.
Eden Hazard restored Chelsea’s lead from the penalty spot but Thiago Silva’s towering header six minutes from the end sent the French side through.
”PSG’s qualification is deserved,“ Blanc said. ”We tried to play more football than Chelsea and created more dangerous chances.
“We were very solid defensively. I said we had to defend well to stay in the game.”
Reporting by Ed Osmond, editing by Nick Mulvenney