Real hangover for PSG against Metz?
By D. Crossan
Paris Saint-Germain rolled up their sleeves after being knocked out of Europe and returned to training on Thursday ahead of hosting Metz in a top v bottom Ligue 1 Conforama battle on Saturday afternoon.
PSG have to overcome the crushing disappointment at crashing out of the UEFA Champions League at the round of 16 stage for the second year running and Metz may well feel the backlash of the capital club after Unai Emery's side fell 5-2 on aggregate to holders Real Madrid.
Marquinhos: Champions League "was our main objective"
PSG now have three domestic trophies to target as they boast a 14-point lead over champions Monaco heading into Week 29, are into a Coupe de la Ligue final date with Monaco, and have a Coupe de France semi-final at Caen to look forward to. Marquinhos, though, couldn't mask his disappointment at having exited the Champions League: "It's very frustrating and very hard to have been knocked out of the competition as it was our main objective. We need to work even harder and get more experience on board. I don't think it's a competition you can win just like that. You need to lose in order to learn and then one day win the competition."
Emery, out of contract at the end of the season, said: "I think that over the two matches, in terms of who deserved to go through I would say 60% Real and 40% us. We're disappointed to have lost but Real deserved to go through."
Metz have drawn their last two in the league and are eight points back from 18th-placed Troyes. After a mini-revival, Frédéric Hantz's side have failed to win any of their last five league games and know they need to start picking up maximum points.
Milicevic on Neymar injury, Cavani ban
Attacking midfielder Danijel Milicevic knows it will be tough at the Parc des Princes: "Them going out was a pity for Paris. We know all about their team and even without the injured Neymar and the suspended Cavani they'll be able to name a top-quality side against us. Every time Di Maria plays he scores and I played against Draxler when I was in the Champions League with Gent. He's a superb player. PSG will want to react to going out of Europe when they play us."
Milicevic feels that Metz's luck needs to change if they're to retain their Ligue 1 Conforama status: "We could have taken five points from our last three games if we'd managed to control the last five minutes better in each of the matches. At Guingamp and then against Toulouse we were frustrated. Against Toulouse we were leading until Julian Palmieri was sent off. In spite of everything the dressing room is sound and we're working hard but I think that Metz haven't had the luck we deserved in many games."
Quest for first goal
Milicevic, 32, has yet to find the back of the net in his eight Metz appearances in the top flight so far and club followers hope that he'll open his account on Saturday. The Bosnian international said: "My preferred position is number 10 and against Toulouse I played more on the left. I'm adapting and I'll play where the coach wants me to play. In Belgium I was used to playing in teams that had more possession. Here I have to work more defensively and I like that as the first defenders have to be the attackers."
PSG: Areola; Meunier, Thiago Silva (cap), Kimpembe, Berchiche; Verratti, L.Diarra, Lo Celso; Di Maria, Mbappé, Nkunku
Metz: Kawashima; Rivierez, Selimovic, Niakhaté, Lempereur; Poblete, F.Diagne, Cohade (cap); M.Dossevi, E.Rivière, Roux