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PSG to meet ‘masters’ Barca in heavyweight clash

PSG, who will be without their talismanic striker Zlatan ibrahimovic, will need to find a way to stifle Barca's lethal attack of Lionel Messi and Neymar

By Julien Pretot

Paris St Germain coach Laurent Blanc admitted his team’s frailty when he said that, deprived of the injured Zlatan Ibrahimovic, they will be meeting their masters in Tuesday’s Champions League match against Barcelona.

“We’ll be against our masters, almost, tomorrow,” Blanc told a news conference on Monday ahead of the Group F game at the Parc des Princes.

It was not the kind of remark that will boost his team’s confidence following a stuttering start to the season and the loss of Sweden striker Ibrahimovic due to a heel injury.

PSG have drawn six of their nine games in all competitions, including their opening Champions League match at Ajax Amsterdam, while Barcelona have won six of seven without conceding a goal.

Full back Maxwell, like Ibrahimovic a former Barca player, believes PSG need more time to get into their stride.
“After the World Cup the coach did not have all the players at his disposal for the training camp so it made the preparations more difficult,” Maxwell said.

“We’ve been working very hard to improve and find the form we had last year but it has not been easy.”

Blanc believes the only way for PSG to get back on track is to play the kind of attacking football they have produced since he took over from Carlo Ancelotti last season.

“The only way we will find our level again is by playing because it is our philosophy and the players adhere to it,” he said.
“Barcelona have had this philosophy for 30-40 years and see where it led them. We lack aggressiveness when we don’t have the ball,” Blanc added.

Barcelona, however, will not change their approach to the game, even in the absence of Ibahimovic as they rely on the lethal pairing of Neymar and Lionel Messi up front.

“It’s clear that it is important for PSG but it does not change anything to the way we apprehend this game,” coach Luis Enrique, a former team mate of Blanc at Barca, told a news conference.
“PSG will still be a dangerous rival.”

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