Pastore warns Monaco: 'PSG have hit form now'
Javier Pastore believes Paris Saint-Germain have hit their stride "just at the right time" ahead of Saturday's Coupe de la Ligue final against AS Monaco.
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PSG will go in search of a fourth successive victory in the competition at Parc OL where they face the team that is currently the biggest threat to their hegemony over French football.
Monaco currently sit three points clear of the reigning Ligue 1 champions at the top of the table, and have bettered Unai Emery's men in Europe, reaching the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals while PSG were knocked out in the Last 16.
With them also still being in the hunt for the Coupe de France, Leonardo Jardim's side could pick off all three of the domestic trophies PSG have won in the last two seasons, but Pastore is confident the capital club are gathering an impressive head of steam.
"We're coming into the final straight in the league, two months of competition that will make or break the season. We've come back to form just at the right time," the Argentina international, who is fit again after a series of injury problems, said.
WATCH: Monaco beat PSG earlier in the season
"We need to win everything. We have to be at 100% on the pitch, each of us, to achieve our goals. These last four seasons, we have won a lot of domestic titles. Each time, we have gone out to do that with great desire. We'll try to do the same thing on Saturday. We know we're playing a great team, but we're also very strong."
He added: "The most important thing is to win trophies. I feel good in Paris and I want to win even more trophies with the club. Paris want to win all the trophies possible. That's the club's philosophy. We're going to try and bring back a new cup, because we always want more. We also hope to win for Unai Emery, who has worked a lot since his arrival and — after the Trophée des Champions — deserves trophies."
Marquinhos, Falcao doubts
Emery will likely have to contend with the absence of centre-back Marquinhos with the Brazil international having sustained a minor thigh injury during his country's 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying win over Paraguay earlier this week.
The Spaniard's counterpart, Jardim, faces uncertainty over whether he can select either Radamel Falcao (hip) or full-back Djibril Sidibé (ribs) as he tries to steer the principality club to only their second Coupe de la Ligue title following their maiden triumph in 2002/03.
The Portuguese tactician has the comfort of knowing his squad not only have the edge over their opponents in the table, but that they have also bettered them on the pitch this term. An early season 3-1 win at the Stade Louis II was followed up by a 1-1 draw when Monaco visited the Parc des Princes in January.
"A final is always different!" protested PSG midfielder Marco Verratti. "We're used to playing these kinds of matches, because it's our fifth successive cup final. That's important, and we also want to win the Coupe de la Ligue. I think it will be an open match.
WATCH: PSG held by Monaco at the Parc
"ASM have shown they're a great side that has strung together wins. They have shown it in the league and the Champions League, against ever stronger opponents. We're happy to play them again. It's a great opportunity. We'll do our utmost to win this final, which I think will be an open game."
The Italy international, who played in his country's win over the Netherlands in Tuesday's friendly in Amsterdam, added: "They're a team that knows each other well, with players who've been playing with each other for a long time. They've reached a really high level this season. It's good for the French league. I admire their players a lot."
Monaco: to follow
PSG: to follow