In the words of the Spanish press and predominantly all across Europe, Paris Saint-Germain were given a ‘football lesson’ by Barcelona on Wednesday night in that 1-3 defeat. That result has pretty much put the Catalans into the last-four of the Champions League but Les Parisiens will not go down without a fight next Tuesday in the Camp Nou. Yes, it was a disappointing night but as I said at the time, the players have been playing high stakes matches for the past 10 days. It all just caught up on them against arguably the best team on the continent right now.
Key players being out injured and suspended meant our midfield was depleted in terms of creativity. It was a case of ‘what if’ when the camera panned on Thiago Motta and Marco Verratti watching in the stands as Luis Enrique’s men passed the ball for fun; something we never see from an opposing team at the Parc des Princes these days. You have to give them an enormous amount of credit though. They thoroughly deserved the victory – no doubt about it.
We are left licking our wounds but we cannot be too downtrodden. We have a tough away game later against Nice but we are down on troops. Marco Verratti and Zlatan Ibrahimovic are suspended. Thiago Motta is still not fit enough to make the squad. Thiago Silva’s injury was not as serious as first feared but he is ruled out as a precaution. But, David Luiz is in the squad after the whole kafuffle regarding his fitness in the build-up to and during the Barca game.
Coach Laurent Blanc gave an insight on the team’s preparation for the trip in his pre-match presser yesterday just before the squad was announced. LB said; “This match against Nice has not been easy to prepare. We have to get the players back into Ligue 1 mode after the 3-1 loss to Barcelona. It’s an important match. We haven’t had much time to think because we’ve only had two and a half days to prepare. We have to head to Nice with the ambition of claiming all three points. This match comes at a bad time, but it’s just as important as any other. Thiago Silva will be absent, even if his injury is not as serious as first feared. He will undergo further examinations on Friday afternoon. Then we’ll know how bad it is. Thiago Motta is also out, but the good news is that he trained on Friday morning. He’s almost back. Marco Verratti and Zlatan Ibrahimovic are not available because they’re also suspended. David Luiz didn’t train on Thursday as a precaution. He received treatment”.
Our opponents are on a nice little run with two wins and a draw in their last three games. We have won our last five meetings against them but there is added pressure with Lyon jumping us to the summit during the week with a win over Bastia.
This will be a test of the character for the lads. It was our first defeat at home this season and that will have left a sombre mood in the dressing room afterwards. They cannot let it affect them. As I keep alluding to they are on the brink of something quite unique with the domestic treble in sight.
Focus on today! Catalunya on Tuesday can wait for now.