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PSG launch Dubai football academy

PSG
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 By Mark Rodden

PSG beating Chelsea in UCL 'more difficult without Mourinho' - Motta

Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Thiago Motta has reiterated his view that it will be harder to beat Chelsea in the Champions League now that Jose Mourinho is no longer at the club.

Motta, 33, reacted to word of Mourinho's sacking in December by saying it was "bad news" for PSG, who face Chelsea in Paris in the first leg of their Champions League last 16 tie on Feb. 16.

Having watched the Blues go unbeaten in 11 matches since then, the Italy international is convinced that PSG will find it tough going against Guus Hiddink's side next week.

"It's more difficult without Mourinho," the former Barcelona and Inter Milan player told RMC.

"They've changed their game. When we played them in the last two seasons, they were a team who played on the counter and didn't want the ball.

"Nowadays, they're a team that tries to play. It will be difficult."

Since signing a new one-year deal in August, Motta has impressed alongside Blaise Matuidi and Marco Verratti in the French champions' midfield.

But in the absence of the injured Verratti, the Brazilian-born player had a more uncomfortable night up against Marseille's Lassana Diarra on Sunday.

PSG still managed to win 2-1 in the south of France to stretch their record unbeaten run in Ligue 1 to 34 matches but one of the star performers was on the losing side.

Diarra, 30, spent last season without a team but the former Arsenal, Portsmouth and Chelsea defensive midfielder has been in brilliant form this term.

After Sunday's game Matuidi said Marseille were "lucky to have such a talent" and that if Diarra continued to excel he would not be at the club for long.

On Monday, Motta also voiced his admiration for Diarra, who with each passing week looks more worthy of nailing down a starting place for France at Euro 2016.

"You're right to cite 'Lass' as an example in front of the defence," Motta told RMC. "He defends, he's intelligent, he attacks, he plays the ball. It's rare.

"[On Sunday] he played a great match. He was one of the best players on the pitch. He's the example of a complete midfielder.

"He could play without any problems at a top European club -- he played at Real Madrid. And I'm certain that he'll play the Euros with France."

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