Battered PSG face mission impossible at Barcelona
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Paris Saint-Germain coach Laurent Blanc says his team have “nothing to lose” as they attempt to overturn a crippling 3-1 deficit in the return leg of their Champions League quarter-final at Barcelona on Tuesday.
The French champions were torn apart by Barcelona's star front three of Luis Suarez, Neymar and Lionel Messi at the Parc des Princes last week, just as they were when they last visited the Camp Nou in the group stages in December.
And while Blanc is confident PSG can pose the Barca defence problems, he believes stopping the South American trio is an almost impossible task.
"I'm fairly realistic. Yes we believe we can do it, but like you, we know that it is extremely difficult," he said on Monday.
"We can say that we have nothing to lose. I think we will have the opportunity to score, but the big problem is that we can't concede and against Barcelona that is almost impossible.
Ibrahimovic, Verratti return
While few in the PSG camp believe they can defy the odds and clinch a semi-final, all are eager to at least restore a measure of pride after last week’s drubbing in Paris.
"I hope we can show we are better than what we showed in the first leg," Blanc said.
The visitors will be boosted by the return of their own top scorer as former Barca striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic returns from suspension.
"He will have a big impact. He is a player I have never doubted," added Blanc. "He loves these types of matches, so he will help us. It is always better to have very good players and goalscorers, as we saw in the first leg."
Blanc’s Barcelona counterpart Luis Enrique said his players were well aware of the threat posed by Ibrahimovic.
“Everyone knows Ibra’s qualities. He’s a different player, capable of scoring at the slightest opportunity,” he said. “And the fact that he’s played for Barcelona in the past will be an extra motivation.”
Enrique said the return of Italy’s Marco Verratti, who was also suspended in the first leg, would add more quality to the Parisians’ midfield.
Who's the greatest Argentine?
PSG’s Javier Pastore is hoping the return of Ibrahimovic and Verratti presence can prove the difference from one week to the next.
"It will be a very difficult game, but the only good thing is that we don't have anything to lose. We come into the game with a negative result, but we have added two fundamental players to the team and they will give us a lot.
"We believe because that is our job and football is a game in which you have the possibility to win or lose. For our fans and ourselves we need to play very well and win the game."
However, the Argentine international dismissed French legend Eric Cantona's recent comments that he and not his compatriot Messi, who scored his 400th Barcelona goal at the weekend, is the best player in the world.
"Everyone has their opinion and I thank him publicly for what he said, but I don't believe the same.
"I think he likes good football and not just goals, but the stats of Messi and (Cristiano) Ronaldo are incredible, unattainable numbers."
(FRANCE 24 with AFP)