City outclass Gladbach in dominant display

Blanc: PSG need outstanding performance against Manchester City


Paris St Germain must produce an outstanding performance against Manchester City on Tuesday if they are going to reach the Champions League semifinals for the first time, coach Laurent Blanc said on Monday.

The 50-year-old, back in the city where he played for Manchester United from 2001-2003, said that although City held a "small advantage" after the first leg of their quarter-final ended in a 2-2 draw in Paris last week, PSG were coming to the Etihad determined to put right last week's mistakes.

At his pre-match briefing at the Etihad Stadium, Blanc said PSG needed to tighten up defensively and not give City the space they allowed them last week. "But to do that, we are going to have to produce an outstanding performance," he said.

There are plenty of similarities between two clubs that are now backed by hugely wealthy Arab investors, with some commentators dubbing this the "petrodollar derby".

Manchester City were enriched by Sheikh Mansour of Abu Dhabi in 2008 while the Qatar Investment Authority acquired PSG in 2011, turning them into the most powerful force in French football.

Despite all that wealth though, neither club has advanced to the last four of the Champions League, and while PSG are appearing in the quarter-finals for the fourth successive year, City are only playing in their first quarter-final.

Blanc admitted that both clubs have similar "projects" and reiterated that PSG's goal is to win the Champions League sooner or later.

"If we win tomorrow it will help create a new era of French football, it will change things and it would be a real breakthrough if we get to the semifinals for the first time.

"But that is not the ultimate objective. Expectations are high for us and will remain high until we finally become European champions," he added.

Expanding on his expectations for Tuesday's match, Blanc said there was not a lot to choose between the teams from an attacking point of view.

"There are definitely going to be goals. When you look at the chances we created last week, we scored twice as well as missing a penalty -- that was not bad. But the goals we conceded irritated me and the defenders," said Blanc.

"We are going to have to be far more compact, and play better defensively and not allow City the room to create chances."

Blanc would not be drawn on whether influential Italian midfielder Marco Verratti would be fit enough to play after being out since the end of February, but he seemed to err on the side of caution: "It is going to be a very tough match tomorrow, very difficult."

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