After a tough week Paris Saint-Germain host Bordeaux on Saturday afternoon, providing a final opportunity to fine-tune things before taking on Manchester United in the Champions League.
Paris Saint-Germain - Girondins de Bordeaux
Beaten by Olympique Lyonnais last Sunday - a first Ligue 1 Conforama reverse under Thomas Tuchel - PSG required extra-time to see off Villefranche 3-0 in the round of 16 of the Coupe de France when they returned to Parc OL on Wednesday evening. Better will be required when PSG go to Old Trafford on Tuesday for the first leg of the round of 16 Champions League tie.
While Neymar is definitely out of both legs of the United clash, Marco Verratti is hopeful he'll have recovered from his ankle injury in time to take the field in Manchester. PSG will need everybody possible fit and firing against Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side. Up against third-tier Villefranche, Tuchel had to send for Edinson Cavani and Kylian Mbappé from the bench in order for the holders to secure their passage to the quarter-finals.
Julian Draxler netted the first PSG goal in extra-time, while in normal time Tuchel had been sent to the stands by referee Antony Gautier for vociferously protesting about a challenge on new signing Leandro Paredes. Draxler commented: "At the moment he's not very happy about refereeing, at least I hope he's not unhappy because of us. I think players need protecting, notably when there are fouls like the one Fekir committed on Paredes last week. We've already lost Neymar and we need everybody. The coach gets angry and I can understand why."
Draxler on Paredes: "Technically he is very good"
Draxler played alongside Paredes in central midfield and was impressed with the Argentinian international's first start: "It was vey good, even if he only speaks Spanish! Technically he is very good. From what I see in training, he's a very good player who will bring a lot to us. We needed a midfielder like him as it offers us greater possibilities."
Bordeaux this week suspended young attacker Yann Karamoh, on loan from Inter Milan, and the mood around the club is still low following the Coupe de la Ligue semi-final elimination at Strasbourg in Les Girondins' last outing. With the Week 23 fixture at home to Guingamp having been postponed, the trip to the capital is a tough one to bounce back in.
Coach Eric Bedouet said: "We need to pull together and work hard. We mustn't forget that we're at a big club. I repeat that from time to time to the players, telling them that we're at a big club, Girondins de Bordeaux. It's not just anything and the way we conduct ourselves has to be impeccable at all levels."
Bedouet is wary of giving debuts to winter transfer window signings Josh Maja, brought in from Sunderland, and Yacine Adli, acquired from PSG as he believes the Parc des Princes is not the ideal place to blood young talent.
Paris Saint-Germain: Buffon; Meunier, Thiago SIlva, Kimpembe, Nsoki; Verratti, Paredes; Dani Alves, Nkunku, Diaby; Cavani
Bordeaux: Costil; Sabaly, Koundé, Pablo, Poundjé; Basic, Otavio, Sankharé; Kamano, Briand, De Préville