Thursday, May 6, 2021

PSG yet to make decision over Mbappe as Pochettino calls for bravery against Man City

SoccerNews in Ligue 1 3 May 2021

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Paris Saint-Germain have still not decided whether Kylian Mbappe will feature in the second leg of the Champions League semi-final with Manchester City on Tuesday.

Mauricio Pochettino’s men face an uphill battle to progress to the final for the second successive season after losing the home leg 2-1 at Parc des Princes.

PSG must score at least twice to go through but could be without Mbappe, who missed Saturday’s Ligue 1 game with Lens because of a calf injury.

He did not have a shot in the first leg, marking the first time he failed to muster an attempt after starting a game in his Champions League career.

Still, plotting a turnaround at the Etihad Stadium will be significantly more difficult without Mbappe, who has been involved in the most shot-ending sequences (60) of any player still left in the competition.

Since joining PSG in 2017, Mbappe has missed only two of their 38 Champions League games, with the capital club winning one and losing the other. Their shots-per-game average is 13.6 when he plays compared to 8.5 across the two matches he missed.

Asked about Mbappe’s availability, head coach Pochettino replied on Monday: “We need to assess Kylian, today.

“He is going to start with an individual training session, we still didn’t decide whether he is going to be available or not tomorrow.

“We will see today and take the decision tomorrow.”

Idrissa Gueye will not feature after he was sent off in the first leg, the midfielder receiving a two-match ban for a straight red card he received during a second half in which PSG had just one shot and 35 per cent of possession.

Pochettino knows PSG cannot allow City to dominate the game again if they are to have a hope of getting through to the Istanbul showpiece.

“We need to be clinical and we need to be aggressive,” he added. “We need two goals if we want to have the possibility to go through to the final. That is the objective and we are going to try.

“We need to take the risk, we need to be brave, we need to plan the game knowing Manchester City is a team that can manage a different way to play.

“It’s going to be a battle, it’s going to be difficult, but the most important thing is that we are going to be ready.”

The odds are stacked against PSG, with English sides having won the previous 47 ties in the competition when they have won the first leg away.

However, Pochettino believes there will be no shortage of motivation to upset the odds in the PSG camp.

“Houston, we have a problem if we need to motivate our players,” said Pochettino with a smile. 

“We need to have a call if that happens. Players love to play this type of game.”

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