He will take it out on Manchester City, says PSG manager Laurent Blanc
- Paris Saint-German take on Manchester City at the Etihad on Tuesday
- PSG bring a 2-2 first leg quarter-final Champions League draw to England
- Manager Laurent Blanc says Zlatan Ibrahimovic is fired up and ready
- City will be without captain Vincent Kompany who didn’t pass fitness test
Shortly after taking a 2-1 lead over Manchester City at the Parc des Princes last week, Paris Saint-Germain struck the frame of the goal through a header from the peculiarly up and down Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
It didn’t feel like a particularly crucial moment at the time, but it does now.
Another goal then and Laurent Blanc’s team of French champions would have a foot in the semi-finals by now. As it was, City rallied to equalise and Manuel Pellegrini and his players face off with PSG at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday hoping that Blanc’s warning of immediate retribution from Ibrahimovic does not come to pass.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic takes part in a warm up during a training session at the Etihad Stadium on Monday
‘We are surprised when he misses a chance,’ said Blanc on Monday. ‘He is demanding of himself. He wants to show more of himself.
‘All I can say is that if we create as many chances for him this time then his conversion rate will be higher. We had big chances. He missed a penalty but he still scored, remember.’
If psychology really does matter in football then City should begin Tuesday’s game with an edge. Their 2-2 draw last week not only represented a terrific European result but the manner in which it was earned — coming from behind when momentum seemed against them — will have cheered them too.
Edinson Cavani and Javier Pastore will also offer a threat as PSG need to score in second leg if they are to win
PSG, on the other hand, arrived in England on Monday still feeling rather regretful. City have the advantage and Blanc knows his team will have to produce the kind of aggressive, powerful performance they delivered to win at Chelsea in the last round if they are to end a run of three successive quarter-final exits.
‘Last week we were fed up,’ said Blanc, through a brilliantly expressive translator. ‘The players were fed up. The fans were fed up. The second goal we conceded irritated me somewhat. But that’s football.
‘Therapy is a big word. What we have been through during the last week has not been particularly therapeutic. We know we didn’t play a perfect game but also we know we haven’t been dominated. In fact we probably dominated them. If we create as many chances this time then we will score more goals, I think.’
PSG coach Laurent Blanc knows improvements are necessary after the costly errors in the first leg
In terms of personnel, nothing much changes from last week for a game City are confident will sell out despite a rather sluggish initial ticket take-up.
Despite hopes from inside the club over the weekend, City captain Vincent Kompany has been ruled out by Pellegrini meaning that Eliaquim Mangala and Nicolas Otamendi will have to resume a partnership that looked uncertain in France.
Midfielder Yaya Toure is fit to return, meanwhile, and that could yet be a good thing or a bad thing depending on what version of the gifted Ivorian turns up.
Blanc says Paris Saint-Germain must be at their best if they are to knock out Manchester City on Tuesday
Toure’s life at City is once again surrounded by unnecessary noise at the moment after more inflammatory and eccentric words from his agent at the weekend.
ZLATAN THE MAN IN EUROPE
5 – Zlatan Ibrahimovic has scored in each of his last five Champions League appearances for Paris Saint-Germain. He has never managed six in a row in the competition
Pellegrini won’t inflame that issue by commenting, while the view inside City is that Toure would be wise to concentrate on improving his football between now and the end of the season.
‘Kompany is not 100 per cent so it is not possible,’ said Pellegrini. ‘But I trust 100 per cent in the players who will play. We have to have a lot of trust in the squad.
‘Yaya is OK and ready to play. The other things should be left until the end of the season.’
Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini confirmed that Vincent Kompany would not play against PSG
Tuesday night represents an opportunity for Pellegrini. Given the way his team failed to consistently impress in the early stages of this year’s Champions League, few would have expected them to be standing with only a low-scoring home draw — or of course a victory — between them and the semi-final.
Blanc was right when he suggested that his own team had created more chances last week but City still appeared dangerous on the counter-attack.
The return of Belgian midfielder Kevin De Bruyne has helped them already and against West Bromwich Albion on Saturday, Sergio Aguero looked as though he may be ready to run into some real late-season form.
PSG themselves will field former Manchester United winger Angel di Maria, and the South American promised on Monday to ‘hit City where it hurts’. If he does that then it would represent a rare effective night for the former Real Madrid star in Manchester.
Before the game we can expect City’s supporters to boo the Champions League anthem. It has become a tiresome practice but they are within their rights to do it and Pellegrini was not going to dissuade them when asked about it on Monday.
‘It depends if you are superstitious,’ the Chilean smiled. ‘If you are superstitious, we continue winning if they boo the anthem.
‘They boo at the beginning of the night but afterwards they are always supporting our team so I don’t have any complaints about our fans.’
If Tuesday’s result is too hard to call then all we do know is that it will be a breakthrough night for one of these teams.
Much was made before the first game of the similarities in the ownership of City and PSG but their respective need for credibility and European self-esteem is identical too.
If Blanc and his players felt rueful after the first leg, it is nothing compared to how one of these clubs will feel at about 9.40pm on Tuesday night.
Source: Daily Mail