Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Pablo Sarabia has said that his side will be on the front foot as they take on attack-minded dark horses Atalanta in their exceptional one-off Champions League quarter-final on Wednesday.
Through to the quarters for the first time in four years, PSG are on the cusp of a massive opportunity: in just one match, against Atalanta, they can book a return to the competition's final four for the first time in 25 years…
Although it might be easy to feel the pressure in such a situation - especially given the added difficulty of having endured an unprecedented five-month lay-off and of course lock-down - the capital club's Spanish midfielder Pablo Sarabia in fact the picture of calm and positive vibes as he spoke to in-house channel PSG TV from the club's three-day training camp in Faro, in Portugal's south.
"We're adapting ourselves to the situation. It's true that it's unique because we're playing all the ties in one location as single matches, which has never happened before. So we have to adapt," Sarabia explained. "Yeah it's a unique chance that we have. We're going to try to make it a reality and make history for Paris Saint-Germain. I think now is an ideal time to do it. We've been focused on it for a while now. We have to be ready, to thoroughly study our rival and perform really well to be able to make history."
'Try to win from the get-go'
Their rival - Atalanta - present a unique profile. This quarter-final tie is the culmination of attack-obsessed Atalanta's best-ever Champions League run, and while PSG are favourites, no-one is under the illusion that it will be an easy match for Thomas Tuchel's men.
"Atalanta are doing well. They've shown they can play. They try to apply pressure up front, they have great players who can score plenty of goals," admitted Sarabia, who is no slouch at scoring himself. "What we'll try to do with our weapons and our football is to neutralise our opponent's strengths and demonstrate our own. It may be an open match. On the other hand, when you play only one game, matches tend to be more defensive because there's less time and teams try to be more conservative. We're going to try to win the match from the get-go, we'll try to win from the moment we come out onto the pitch.
All for one, etc.
Despite having Marco Verratti, Angel Di Maria, Layvin Kurzawa and of course Kylian Mbappé unavailable through injury or suspension, Paris Saint-Germain do have a secret weapon - a tight-knit group ethos."I think it's a great squad. I've said it before: when I arrived here, I expected a different kind of team, a little bit more individual-orientated, but it has been the opposite," Sarabia explained of his experience working with the likes of Neymar, Thiago Silva and Mauro Icardi in the capital club's star-studded squad. "When I arrived, I found a good team, nice people and good teammates. It's true that, as a group, we've been able to develop some strong cohesion, which I think is a very important part of forming a good squad, because in the good times and the bad, that's when you've got to show it."