Madrid (AFP) – Paris Saint-Germain coach Unai Emery believes his side can benefit from the memory of last year’s stinging defeat to Barcelona when they take on Real Madrid in the Champions League on Wednesday.
“Perhaps our preparation began with that match. We have not talked about it a lot but we have spoken very clearly about what happened,” Emery said at a press conference at the Santiago Bernabeu on Tuesday ahead of the last 16, first leg.
“We have learnt a lot. I think we are better prepared now and ready to compete.”
The memory of last year’s tie — when PSG collapsed late on to lose 6-1 at the Camp Nou having won 4-0 at home in the first leg — continues to haunt the French club, but they see this tie with the defending champions as an opportunity.
“This is a chance for us to keep growing as a club by playing against the reigning champions and the team that has won the most titles. We want to get to that level,” Emery added.
Real host PSG on Wednesday before travelling to the French capital for the return on March 6.
The French side have invested huge sums notably to sign Neymar as they chase the dream of winning the Champions League, although they have not made it beyond the quarter-finals since the Qatari takeover of the club in 2011.
“Respect is gained and history is made on the field,” admitted Brazilian defender Marquinhos.
“It is not easy to win a competition like this. We need to go through a lot of things on the way, but each season, and every day that goes by, we are working and getting closer to our objective.”