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Chelsea's Euro hopes are still alive - Gus Hiddink

By Matt McGeehan

Published 17/02/2016

Chelsea’s John Obi Mikel (right) celebrates his crucial strike with Gary Cahill
Chelsea’s John Obi Mikel (right) celebrates his crucial strike with Gary Cahill

Chelsea interim boss Guus Hiddink believes John Obi Mikel's away goal in last night's 2-1 defeat at Paris St Germain could be key in determining the outcome of the last-16 tie in the Blues' favour.

A rare goal from Mikel cancelled out Zlatan Ibrahimovic's opener before substitute Edinson Cavani earned a 2-1 first-leg win for the hosts at the Parc des Princes.

Away goals have separated these sides in the Champions League in each of the last two seasons and Hiddink is optimistic Chelsea's position is favourable ahead of the March 9 second leg at Stamford Bridge.

"I'm never happy with a loss but it's not a dramatic loss," said Hiddink, who saw his 11-game unbeaten run end.

"I think it's 50-50 still. You have to consider it's a two-leg game. Scoring away is always good."

Chelsea defender Gary Cahill added: "It's poised now, we know what we have to do and we have done it before at home. We go all in now."

Hiddink expressed jealousy at the options at Laurent Blanc's disposal after Cavani's impact.

"I envy a bit the bench of PSG. They have a very strong bench," Hiddink said.

Chelsea's defensive effort was impressive, but Eden Hazard made a limited impact.

The Belgium playmaker, who chose the eve of the match to reveal it would be difficult to turn down a move to PSG, did little to boost any potential transfer fee and was withdrawn 19 minutes from the end.

Chelsea's John Obi Mikel, right, celebrates with teammate Chelsea's Gary Cahill after scoring his side first goal during the Champions League round of 16, first leg, soccer match between Paris Saint Germain and Chelsea at the Parc des Princes stadium, in Paris, Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2016. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
Chelsea's John Obi Mikel, right, celebrates with teammate Chelsea's Gary Cahill after scoring his side first goal during the Champions League round of 16, first leg, soccer match between Paris Saint Germain and Chelsea at the Parc des Princes stadium, in Paris, Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2016. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
John Mikel Obi of Chelsea scores their first and equalising goal past goalkeeper Kevin Trapp of Paris Saint-Germain during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 first leg match between Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea at Parc des Princes on February 16, 2016 in Paris, France. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Chelsea's Belgian midfielder Eden Hazard runs during the Champions League round of 16 first leg football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Chelsea FC on February 16, 2016, at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris. AFP PHOTO / KENZO TRIBOUILLARDKENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images
Chelsea's Belgian goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois (R) takes the first goal during the Champions League round of 16 first leg football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Chelsea FC on February 16, 2016, at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris. AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFEFRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images
Chelsea's Belgian midfielder Eden Hazard (R) vies for theball with Paris Saint-Germain's Brazilian defender Thiago Silva (L) during the Champions League round of 16 first leg football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Chelsea FC on February 16, 2016, at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris. AFP PHOTO / KENZO TRIBOUILLARDKENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images
PARIS, FRANCE - FEBRUARY 16: Eden Hazard of Chelsea (grounded) is injured during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 first leg match between Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea at Parc des Princes on February 16, 2016 in Paris, France. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - FEBRUARY 16: John Mikel Obi of Chelsea scores their first and equalising goal past goalkeeper Kevin Trapp of Paris Saint-Germain during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 first leg match between Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea at Parc des Princes on February 16, 2016 in Paris, France. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Former PSG coach Carlo Ancelotti (R) and his wife Mariann Barrena McClay attend the Champions League round of 16 first leg football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Chelsea FC on February 16, 2016, at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris. AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFEFRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images
Chelsea's Brazilian midfielder Willian sits on the pitch during the Champions League round of 16 first leg football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Chelsea FC on February 16, 2016, at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris. AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFEFRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images
Paris Saint-Germain's Brazilian midfielder Lucas Moura falls during the Champions League round of 16 first leg football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Chelsea FC on February 16, 2016, at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris. AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFEFRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images
Chelsea's Diego Costa holds his hand to his face as he reacts after missing a chance on goal during the Champions League round of 16, first leg, soccer match between Paris Saint Germain and Chelsea at the Parc des Princes stadium, in Paris, Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2016. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
Paris Saint-Germain's Brazilian midfielder Lucas Moura (up) falls during the Champions League round of 16 first leg football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Chelsea FC on February 16, 2016, at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris. AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFEFRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images
Paris Saint-Germain's Swedish forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic (R) celebrates after scoring a goal during the Champions League round of 16 first leg football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Chelsea FC on February 16, 2016, at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris. AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFEFRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images
Paris Saint-Germain's Swedish forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic celebrates after scoring a goal during the Champions League round of 16 first leg football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Chelsea FC on February 16, 2016, at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris. AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFEFRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images
Paris Saint-Germain's Swedish forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic celebrates after scoring a goal during the Champions League round of 16 first leg football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Chelsea FC on February 16, 2016, at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris. AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFEFRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images
Paris Saint-Germain's Brazilian defender David Luiz looks on prior to the Champions League round of 16 first leg football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Chelsea FC on February 16, 2016, at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris. AFP PHOTO / MIGUEL MEDINAMIGUEL MEDINA/AFP/Getty Images
PARIS, FRANCE - FEBRUARY 16: Chelsea fans looks at their mobile phones prior to the UEFA Champions League round of 16 first leg match between Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea at Parc des Princes on February 16, 2016 in Paris, France. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Paris Saint-Germain's supporters wave flags and cheer prior to the Champions League round of 16 first leg football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Chelsea FC on February 16, 2016, at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris. AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFEFRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images
Paris Saint-Germain's supporters cheer during the Champions League round of 16 first leg football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Chelsea FC on February 16, 2016, at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris. AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFEFRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images
Former PSG coach Carlo Ancelotti (L) talks with France's national team coach Didier Deschamps (R) next to Brazilian model Izabel Goulart during the Champions League round of 16 first leg football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Chelsea FC on February 16, 2016, at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris. AFP PHOTO / KENZO TRIBOUILLARDKENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images
PARIS, FRANCE - FEBRUARY 16: PSG players line up prior to the UEFA Champions League round of 16 first leg match between Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea at Parc des Princes on February 16, 2016 in Paris, France. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Hiddink said: "He was a forward threat and had some good runs, but of course this was a game with a high intensity. After 65, 70 minutes it was enough for him. He has to grow and when he does, his shape will grow.

"Thankfully we also have Oscar for his position. He will be better and better."

PSG took the lead when Mikel fouled Lucas Moura and Ibrahimovic's resulting free-kick deflected off the Nigerian.

Diego Costa had earlier had a header tipped onto the bar by Kevin Trapp and Hiddink rued further missed opportunities.

"We could have been a little bit more lethal in the four, five counters we made," he added.

John Terry missed the trip to Paris and may have to wait for his 700th Chelsea appearance as he is a doubt for Sunday's FA Cup fifth-round tie with Manchester City.

Hiddink will not rush the captain back.

"We'll see," he added. "We must be careful. We must not go into a situation where he will drop back into a longer period of injury."

Cahill and Branislav Ivanovic stepped up in the absence of Terry and Kurt Zouma, who is out for the season with a knee injury.

"The players did well, not just the four defenders," Hiddink said.

Blanc rued the concession of Mikel's  goal and said PSG would strive to score at least one of their own in London in three weeks' time.

"When you play at home you need to be stronger in defence because, if you concede a goal, it counts double," Blanc said. "Chelsea scored, so we go to Stamford Bridge eager to score ourselves.

"We'll have chances so it'll be about defending well but we are an attacking team."

Blanc predicts an open second leg. He added: "I don't think Chelsea will change their approach. Neither will we. So the return game will probably be open and with goals."

Belfast Telegraph

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