PARIS - Jose Mourinho has ruled his Chelsea side out of the English Premier League title race, but he believes they will bounce back from domestic disappointment against Paris Saint-Germain in the European Champions League.
The Chelsea manager questioned his players' mentality after a surprise 1-0 loss at Crystal Palace led to them being knocked off top spot in the Premier League by Liverpool.
Mourinho loves to play mind games but, with Manchester City poised to leapfrog the Blues by winning their games in hand, it may be true that Chelsea's best chance of silverware now lies with the Champions League.
"Paris is the kind of match they feel comfortable to play. A big match, great stadium, opponents with top quality," said Mourinho ahead of the trip to France.
Despite that, he says that the tie is finely poised, with PSG having emerged as a leading continental force in the last two years, spending astronomical sums to attract the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Brazil captain Thiago Silva to France.
"They have some of the best players in the world playing together in the same team, so they are a very powerful team," Mourinho said of a side who lost on away goals to Barcelona at the same stage last season.
"They are big, big, big candidates."
PSG have not lost in 28 home European games and are currently on a club record-breaking run of nine straight wins in all competitions.
They are running away with the Ligue 1 title and come into April 13 points clear of nearest challengers Monaco.