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PSG will play to win against Barcelona: Blanc

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.

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

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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PROTESTS

WATCH: French riot police clear Catalan protesters at highway blockade on border with Spain

UPDATED: Riot squads from the French Gendarme moved in to clear the highway linking France and Spain at La Jonquera border on Tuesday morning, dragging protesters from their camps and firing tear gas.

WATCH: French riot police clear Catalan protesters at highway blockade on border with Spain
Protesters have blocked traffic on the main road between France and Spain. Photos: AFP

A joint police operation by forces either side of the border cleared protesters from the road as the blockade entered its second day. 

“There are no more demonstrators on the highway,” a spokeswoman for the security department of the eastern French Pyrenees said, adding that no-one had been hurt and the motorway was expected to reopen on Tuesday afternoon.   

A reported 19 people were arrested in total, one in Spain and 18 on the French side of the border.

As day broke on the second day of protest mobilised by Tsunami Democratic, the French police force took action to clear the busy border crossing where the AP7 joins France’s A9 dismantling a field kitchen set up by protesters.

Footage posted on Twitter shows the action when police moved in at 8am on Tuesday.

 

French police began the operation to clear the highway on the French side, firing canisters of tear gas to disperse the crowds who had camped out overnight and were singing protests songs around burning braziers.  

The protest is the latest action against the sentencing last month of nine of Catalan separatist leaders to lengthy jail terms and was called to block traffic at the border over a three-day period ending Wednesday night.

“This mobilisation is a cry to the international community so that it makes the Spanish state understand that the only possible path is to sit down and talk,” Tsunami Democratic said in a message to its followers on encrypted messaging service Telegram.

Several hundred people had gathered there, setting up a stage, camp and kitchen.

Although police managed to reopen the AP-7 in the direction of France, protests were still causing flare ups and congestion on roads in the area, including the N-11.

 

 


Protesters hold up signs declaring “All To La Jonquera”. Photo: AFP

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