On Tuesday, as part of the 2020-2021 UEFA Champions League semi-finals, Paris Saint-Germain (second in Ligue 1) will face Manchester City (first in the Premier League) at the Etihad Stadium (starting at 9 pm, and broadcasting on) RMC Sport) With the mission to overthrow Stage 1-2. On the eve of that meeting, Parisian coach Mauricio Pochettino answered several questions at a press conference. An opportunity to discuss whether or not Kylian Mbappe (22-year-old striker) will return, the desired game, the clues to the match, and the mindset with which to approach the match
Pochettino “will start individually and then we’ll see if he can join the group.”
How is Mbappe?
We have to assess his condition. He will start individually and after that we will see if he can join the group. We haven’t decided yet.
When will the decision be made?
We’ll see how things go today, and the decision will be made tomorrow.
What is the game system?
It will be similar to what we have been doing since the beginning. We want to give players the confidence to play as we know it.
Pochettino “It would be necessary to be clinically in front of goal.”
Will the match be played on possession? Do we want it
Yes, this is our intention and challenge. As we know, Manchester City has been playing for 6 years with the same philosophy with Pep Guardiola. They are very strong. We are also trying to take possession, with more transition due to the characteristics of the players. We must also be prepared to suffer sometimes. Then it will be essential that you are clinically in front of goal. We have to score at least two goals if we want to reach the Final.
Pochettino “We know it will be difficult, but we will be ready.”
Guardiola said that preparing for the semi-final second leg is more than preparing for the final?
Of course it is difficult, because the final match is just a game and depends on certain factors. Semi-finals, two encounters and a special emotional approach. There is a result of the previous week. It changes the way you handle the meeting. They have the advantage in the outcome, we have to take risks and be courageous. We must be aggressive. We know Manchester City can play in different ways, and we have to be smart. We know it’s going to be tough, but we’ll be prepared.
Qualifying with Tottenham in 2019 helps prepare here? Can we use it to motivate players?
That was two years ago, in the quarter-finals. It is not the same. The approach is different. There are no supporters. The team is different. Experience is important in football, but the reality is different. In this type of match, there is a real problem if there is a special need for motivation of the players. They like to play this kind of games. Nobody wants to be on the side.
Pochettino “The team must be ready to handle matters with their emotions.”
Is it important to record in the first 15 minutes?
It’s hard to figure out the key to the match tomorrow. In soccer, things happen and it is difficult to prepare everything. Football can be a surprise. The most important thing is to win. We need two goals and City not to score. There may be different times to deal with it in this area. This runs through the habits that are created on a daily basis, our philosophy. The team must be prepared to handle matters with their feelings.
Special music to prepare players?
Players own the music, it’s their own way. I will not use anything special.
Pochettino “This is the challenge and what we want. This is what the players are thinking.”
If we look at Manchester City’s defeats?
Its very difficult to compare, it is different matches, different competitions, different contexts. These are other teams that have other ways to play. Everything is different. We know how City wants to play. On our part, after a few months we try to put certain things in their proper place. We are still under construction. This is not an excuse. We managed to eliminate Barcelona and Bayern Munich. We need faith. The city deserves its place.
After that, it’s a soccer match. It is a great opportunity for us to be in the semi-finals of this competition. For PSG that’s a very good thing. The club wants to go to the semi-finals to win the competition. But that means you will be in the semi-finals and victory will come one day. Hope it’s this season. This is the challenge and what we want. This is what the players are thinking.
Pochettino “If we are better, we will pass. Otherwise, it is because we do not deserve to reach the final.”
The city has a mental advantage?
I find it difficult to understand what this feature is. In soccer, you have to be better than the opponent. This is the goal, as in the first 45 minutes. Then the city was better. It is a team built for 10 years to play at this level. There will be two great teams. If we were better, we would pass. Otherwise, it is because we do not deserve to reach the Final.
More pressure on Guardiola after several years without going to the final? Do I have the same feeling I had with Tottenham two years ago?
No, he doesn’t have more pressure. It’s just a matter of going to the final. I am very satisfied. I enjoy being here. Paris Saint-Germain has not played many semifinals. You have to enjoy it, relax and enjoy it by trying to do your best. This is the only way to reach the final. I feel two years ago. We know we have a good opponent, but we also have qualities and we have to be better than them.