Paris Saint-Germain coach Laurent Blanc is confident his side will be victorious later today against Barcelona, especially since his team was able to defeat the Catalan club earlier this season during the Champions League group stages.
Back in September, PSG beat Barcelona 3-2 at the Parc des Princes after goals from David Luiz, Marco Verratti and Blaise Matuidi.
The French champions entered that contest without the services of Zlatan Ibrahimovic who was suffering from a heel injury.
What made the victory even more significant was the fact to that point Barcelona had not conceded a goal in 681 minutes stretching back to last season.
The two sides face-off again later today in the quarter-final of the Champions League in Paris.
PSG will be severely shorthanded with several key players missing due to suspension and/or injury: Ibrahimovic (suspended), Verratti (suspended), Thiago Motta (injury) and David Luiz (injury).
Regardless of these missing players, coach Laurent Blanc believes his team will use its previous success against Barcelona as a reference point for success later today at the Parc des Princes.
“Our first match of the season against Barcelona is a reference point for us,” Blanc said during his pre-match press conference.
“We’re one of few teams to have scored three goals against them. We had a great game – both teams did. We’ll need to replicate that feat because we’re facing one of the best teams in Europe.”
Barcelona have won 30 of their last 34 games in all competitions, but saw their nine-game winning streak come to an end this weekend following a 2-2 draw with Sevilla on Saturday.
They have been sparked by the dominant displays of their attacking trio of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar – with Messi playing perhaps the best football of his career to date.
Blanc says his side needs to avoid conceding an away goal – although he admits that is easier said than done – and will place the responsibility of corralling Messi on his entire team.
“We need to avoid conceding; we know the importance of away goals,” Blanc concluded. “Of course that’s easier said than done – most of Barca’s opponents start out with the aim of not conceding…and they always do!
“What do I think about Messi? The same as almost any football lover. He has been one of the best players on the planet for some time. He can score 50 or 60 goals a season … when he scores 40, they say he’s out of form! He’s one of the best players ever.
“How do we stop him? Our answer needs to be a collective one. We’ll have to play very well and keep it very tight. Then we’ll have to be fast and make the most of dead-ball situations.”
Programming note: Paris Saint-Germain vs. Barcelona will be shown LIVE today at 2:45pm EST on FOX Sports 1 and FoxSoccer2Go.
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