PSG coach Luis Enrique urges 'calm' in Dortmund Champions League decider

AFP , Monday 6 May 2024

Paris Saint-Germain coach Luis Enrique sought to take the pressure off his side going into Tuesday's Champions League semi-final second leg against Borussia Dortmund, telling them not to worry about having to win by two goals to reach the final.

Luis Enrique
Paris Saint-Germain s Spanish coach Luis Enrique looks on during a press conference at the campus of French L1 Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) football club in Poissy, western Paris, on May 6, 2024. AFP


PSG must overturn a 1-0 deficit from last week's first leg after a Niclas Fuellkrug goal gave Dortmund a narrow victory in Germany.

"The objective is not to play to win by two goals, it is just to win. You can't afford to think about having to win by two goals," Luis Enrique told reporters on Monday, weighing up the possibility of the tie being decided in extra time and even penalties.

"We need to score one first of all, and win the match."

PSG are looking to repeat their heroics in the quarter-finals, when they lost 3-2 at home to Barcelona in the first leg but qualified with a 4-1 win in the return -- despite conceding the opening goal in Spain.

"It doesn't matter if we concede -- it happened against Barcelona -- we'll just need to stay calm," the Spaniard added.

He also said the key to getting top scorer Kylian Mbappe more involved in the game was not necessarily to make him drop deeper to get on the ball.

Mbappe has scored 43 goals for PSG this season, including two in the second leg against Real Sociedad in the last 16, and two more away in Barcelona, but struggled to make a major impact in Dortmund last week.

"Our objective is that our best players participate. The more they take part in the game the better it is," he said.

"But I want my strikers to be touching the ball in the areas where they can make a difference. I want him to get on the ball where he can be dangerous."

Weekend off


Dortmund warmed up for the second leg by beating Augsburg 5-1 in the Bundesliga with a starting line-up that showed 10 changes from that which faced PSG a few days earlier.

PSG, in contrast, enjoyed a weekend off, with the French league postponing their game away at Nice until May 15 in order to aid their preparations.

"Obviously in life there is not only work. You need to also do things outside of work to be better at your job," Luis Enrique said.

"I love sport, I love cycling, playing padel -- we have a court here -- I like having leisure time, and professionally it has been a good week too.

"We have had time to analyse, we have had training sessions focusing on defence and on attack, and today it will be a normal session on the eve of a game, a bit more relaxed.

"We are thinking about how lucky we are to be playing in a semi-final."

PSG are aiming to reach their second Champions League final, after they lost 1-0 to Bayern Munich in Lisbon in 2020.

They have never won the trophy, but Luis Enrique said he was prepared for the possibility of a disappointing defeat.

"Life will continue and when the sun shines in Paris it is always marvellous.

"If we lose we will congratulate them and we will wake up again the next day.

"We might be disgusted, but we will be proud and will say to ourselves that we will get up again and try to get to the final next year."

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