Paris Saint-Germain must go to Manchester with the intention of winning. Man City’s two away goals has left us chasing the tie after a pulsating first-leg back at the Parc des Princes. It is not ideal, but it’s doable. Coach Laurent Blanc has the belief in his players as well as the fans. If PSG are to finally make it into the last-four after three successive quarter-finals, they are going to have to do it the hard way.
One thing is for certain, both teams were a credit last week. Yes, it was unorthodox at times. The defending was not exactly from the Franco Baresi school of excellence but both sides went at each with hammer and tongs. City especially being the away side showed plenty of bottle to take the game to Paris on the break. In the end, they reaped the benefits with a result that puts them in firm control of this contest.
We spurned a host of chances in the first-leg, which had we taken, we could be on the cusp of being in the semi-final. Then again, the same can be said for City. Had it not been for Fernando’s inexplicable error to gift us an equaliser just before half-time, then the result could have been oh so different.
Laurent Blanc was very concise during his pre-match presser at the Etihad yesterday afternoon on how his team will approach the game. As quoted by the club’s official website he said; “We need to know that we have the potential to qualify against City tomorrow. But we also know it will be very difficult. We will have to be very strong, limit the amount of space we leave them, play our football and take our chances. As soon as we lose the ball, we have to regroup quickly to close down the City forwards as quickly as possible.”
The good news for us that City skipper Vincent Kompany is out. That is all well and good but we have a depleted midfield to worry about. Blaise Matuidi and David Luiz are suspended, Javier Pastore is lacking match fitness and the reports about Marco Verratti starting were met with a pretty conclusive response by the gaffer who said; “Verratti is here because I decided to bring the entire squad. I think the entire squad deserves to feel involved in this match. Like I have already said, it will take a miracle to see Marco on the pitch tomorrow.”
But, he did not rule out the possibility of the Italian starting…
Our dominance domestically is there for all to see. We are on the verge of a back-to-back domestic quadruple, which would be unprecedented within one of Europe’s top five leagues. But, as we know, the Champions League is the priority. The hierarchy at the club are craving the possibility of finally jumping that hurdle and gate-crashing the final four of the world’s biggest club competition.
The pressure is certainly on Paris Saint-Germain. The main thing is that these players believe they can do it. That has not been the case in Europe in years gone by. It is a different PSG but they have to do the business come kick-off tomorrow night.
They can ill afford to squander clear-cut chances as they did at the Parc six days ago.