Champions League

PSG will play to win against Barcelona: Blanc

PSG will play to win against Barcelona: Blanc
PSG coach Laurent Blanc says his side will stick to their footballing principles against Barcelona. Photo: Franck Fife/AFP
PSG coach Laurent Blanc said his team will play to win against Spanish giants Barcelona when they meet in the Champions League Group F clash in Paris on Tuesday. Blanc's side however will have to do without the injured Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Paris Saint-Germain coach Laurent Blanc says there is no question of his side giving up their footballing philosophy in Tuesday's Champions League Group F encounter with Barcelona.

Blanc's team won many plaudits for their attractive brand of possession football last season as they romped to the Ligue 1 title and reached the Champions League quarter-finals for the second season running, losing on away goals to Chelsea.

But putting the emphasis on keeping possession means they will be taking on Barcelona – the masters at the art of keeping the ball – at their own game, and the PSG coach believes that is a risk worth taking.

"In my view we need to prepare to play the way the players are used to playing. If we start doing things that we are not used to, that is when we will put ourselves in danger," said Blanc at a press conference on the eve of the match at the Parc des Princes.

A style of football that produced spectacular results at times last season has not prevented Paris from enduring a sluggish start to this campaign.

'I have prepared a PSG team to beat Barcelona'

The French champions are yet to lose but three draws in their last four Ligue 1 games have left them five points behind leaders Marseille while a 1-1 draw at Ajax two weeks ago means there is added pressure on them to get a result on Tuesday.

But their way of playing is one that the former France defender has advocated since spending a season on the books at the Camp Nou in 1996-97 alongside the likes of former coach Pep Guardiola and current Barca coach Luis Enrique, and now Blanc is ready to take them on at their own game.

"Barcelona have always been one of my favourite teams, above all for their style of play," he said. "I know some people like them and others don't, but they always play good football and score goals.

"I only played there for one year but I was very proud to wear their colours. But I have prepared a PSG team to beat Barcelona. We need to have that mentality.

"I think Paris Saint-Germain will rediscover their level and performances of last season by playing football, sticking to the philosophy we used last year.

'Barcelona are Difficult to stop'

"You can see where Barcelona have got by sticking to a system for 40 years. It will be an extraordinary game. We will put in a great performance tomorrow if we stick to our philosophy but add a bit more aggression, especially when we don't have the ball.

"And that is all the more important because we know that Barca, when they have the ball, are very difficult to stop."

Blanc is also confident his side will create chances against opponents who are yet to concede a single goal in seven matches in all competitions this season, including a 1-0 victory over APOEL of Cyprus on matchday one and a 6-0 trouncing of Granada in La Liga at the weekend.

"I've seen all Barca's games this season and in every match their opponents have had chances," he said, with Edinson Cavani charged with the task of leading the attack in the absence of former Barca star Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who has a heel problem.

Brazilian full-back Maxwell, another member of the PSG squad to have enjoyed a spell at the Camp Nou, insisted that his old team's run without conceding cannot last much longer.

"They have got back their intensity at winning the ball back," he said. "It is the philosophy that Guardiola had too. But it's not impossible (to score against them). Some day they need to concede and I hope it will be tomorrow."

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