LONDON -- Laurent Blanc says he will warn his Paris Saint-Germain defenders not to respond to the "provocation" of Chelsea striker Diego Costa when the two teams meet at Stamford Bridge in the second leg of their Champions League round-of -6 tie on Wednesday.
Costa has re-discovered his best form since interim manager Guus Hiddink succeeded Jose Mourinho in December, registering 10 goals and six assists in 14 matches in all competitions, and is expected to start for Chelsea against PSG despite being rested for Saturday's 1-1 draw with Stoke City due to a "minor tendon injury."
But Blanc is more concerned by Costa's reputation for agitating opponents than his goal threat, and says it is important that his PSG players "keep cool" when dealing with the Spain international as they bid to defend a 2-1 first-leg lead at Stamford Bridge.
"There are two facets to Diego Costa: the player and the man," Blanc told a news conference. "The player I like very much, a centre-forward who can score a lot of goals, has good movement, who works hard for the team. I'm a big fan of the player.
"We also know the man, a man who likes contact, duels, challenges, even provocation at times. That's part of his game. We saw that last year. He's a player used to playing like that. He doesn't just do that against PSG. I'll tell my players not to respond to that.
"We have to keep cool in the face of provocation, even if they are Brazilians. We'll need all our strengths at our disposal tomorrow in a tight game. We need to stay with 11 on the field to enjoy a good game, so we can't respond to any provocation -- be it from Diego Costa or anyone else.
"We're away from home, at Stamford Bridge, and were made to pay with that a bit last year. So we have to stay calm."
Chelsea will be without injured captain John Terry for Wednesday's match but PSG have fitness concerns of their own. Marco Verratti and Blaise Matuidi have both travelled with the squad to London but Blanc admits he may have to make a last-ditch decision on whether the Italy international can make his starting XI.
"We'll have to see if he can train," Blanc said of Verratti. "We'll know later [on Tuesday]. I can't answer that now. But I'm not sure he'll definitely be in my squad tomorrow night... I might even only know tomorrow.
"He's an important player, but we need to know for sure on that. We'll wait and see how he does after the training session, but I hope he is fit."