PSG will get past Barcelona in Champions League, says Luis Enrique

16 April 2024 - 13:02
By Fernando Kallas and Angelica Medina
Paris St-Germain strikers Kylian Mbappe and Randal Kolo Muani during a training session at Barcelona's Lluis Companys Olympic Stadium facility on Monday.
Image: EPA/Alejandro Garcia/BackpagePix Paris St-Germain strikers Kylian Mbappe and Randal Kolo Muani during a training session at Barcelona's Lluis Companys Olympic Stadium facility on Monday.

Paris St-Germain will qualify for the Champions League last four by recovering from last week's 3-2 quarterfinal home leg defeat by Barcelona in Tuesday night's second leg, manger Luis Enrique said on Monday.

The Spaniard, who led Barca to the treble in 2015, was confident PSG could overcome what he thought was an unfair loss and continue their quest for a first Champions League crown.

“We are firmly convinced we will turn the score around,” Luis Enrique said on Monday.

“The first match was hard fought by both teams but the result did not reflect what we deserved. The 3-2 scoreline means we have to go for the game.”

PSG started the first leg unbeaten in their previous 27 games in all competitions but were undone by a Barcelona looking to return the club to the summit of European football after crashing out in the group stage two years in a row.

PSG were given the weekend off from League 1 action to rest for the second leg, which is an advantage Luis Enrique thinks will help with applying an aggressive game plan.

“We will press from minute one and they will play their game. When we have the ball we will try to create as many chances as possible,” he said.

“The days after the game were difficult for us, but the good thing about football is that there is another game against the same opponent and now we have the idea of what we have to do. We are in a good moment and we are ready.”

Barcelona welcome the return of Morocco fullback Achraf Hakimi, who missed the first leg due to suspension.

He said PSG were fired up to beat Barca and establish a winning culture and shared his manager's confidence they could fight back against the five-times Champions League winners.

“We're coming here to bring victory back to Paris,” Hakimi said on Monday.

“We're coming with a lot of desire, the desire to change what happened in the first leg. We're coming to win.

“We've been talking to each other, we've been motivating each other. We want to stick together and win.” 

Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone is wary of Borussia Dortmund's strength at home as his side prepare for the return leg of their quarterfinal on Tuesday having taken a 2-1 lead from last week's first game.

Atletico, looking for their first Champions League semifinal place in seven years, beat Dortmund at the Metropolitano stadium on Wednesday but Simeone acknowledged the German side's power at home, which could cause an upset in the return leg.

"They are a very strong team at home, they will surely start with a high tempo and we have to keep up the level we've been playing at in our last few games," Simeone said on Monday ahead of the game at Signal Iduna Park.

"I'm sure they will come out strong, they have a lot of skilful people on the wings, people in the middle who come in very well from the second line too. They work very well on set pieces and we will look to take the game where we think we can hurt them."

Atletico had to withstand intense pressure from Dortmund after going 2-0 up through Rodrigo De Paul and Samuel Lino before Sebastien Haller pulled one back and then twice hit the woodwork.

"All of their players worry me. They are very good, with enormous speed, the young guy, number 47 [Antonios Papadopoulos], I don't want to say his name wrong, but he came on the other day and he was a real menace.

"I can't imagine any other style of their football because they showed it last season when they even had a chance to win the German league, and then Bayern [Munich] won it, but obviously they are a very strong team."

Uefa Champions League, quarterfinal second legs (all 9pm SA time)


Barcelona v Paris St-Germain

Borussia Dortmund v Atletico Madrid


Bayern Munich v Arsenal

Manchester City v Real Madrid