Di Maria: Champions League hopes not hampered by standard of Ligue 1


Paris Saint-Germain winger Angel Di Maria does not believe the club's Champions League hopes will be compromised by the relative lack of quality in Ligue 1.

Laurent Blanc's men have dominated domestic competition since the takeover by Qatar Sports Investments, winning Le Championnat in each of the last three years while they hold a 24-point lead at the summit this season.

They have yet to conquer Europe, however, with one reason put forward being the difficulty in raising their performance levels from Ligue 1 to the Champions League.

Di Maria does not think the problem is one exclusive to PSG, though, and highlighted other teams with similar problems.

Speaking ahead of Tuesday's Champions League round-of-16 first leg at home to Chelsea, he told The Times of India: "Yes, well, there is a big difference, but nearly all Champions League teams are a long way ahead in their domestic leagues.

"Real Madrid and Barcelona are a long away ahead of the other teams in their league but then in the Champions League, they still perform at their best.

"For us here, we try to do our best in every game so that when the Champions League games come around things go as well as possible. Right now, it's natural that there's a very big difference between games in the league and the Champions League, but we will try to do our very best in all of them."

PSG had a rare slip at the weekend, only managing a goalless draw at home to Lille, but Di Maria does not believe it will have any implications for the meeting with Guus Hiddink's men.

"I think this was a game where you could pick up more minutes of playing time, for doing things right in order to keep building towards the Chelsea game," he added.

"There were a lot of players rested as there is a tough game ahead. We kept calm and things went pretty well."

Chelsea have had a tumultuous season which has included the sacking of coach Jose Mourinho and will end with them relinquishing their Premier League crown.

But Di Maria, who worked under the Portuguese at Real Madrid, does not believe Mourinho's exit weakens the Londoners, especially given their improvement under Hiddink.

He said: "It's the same. I think the difference comes down to the players. I think the players are the ones that win games, not the coach.

"The coach just picks 11 players, the formation, then it's the players who get things done. With or without Mourinho, Chelsea have great players."