UEFA Champions League

Neymar: 'Full confidence in our team'

Neymar: 'Full confidence in our team'

UEFA Champions League
Publish on 04/28 at 11:00 - S. WILLIS


Paris Saint-Germain superstar Neymar Jr has said he is 'calm' ahead of one of the biggest matches of the season - at home to Manchester City in the Champions League semis - while coach Mauricio Pochettino played down talk of rivalry with City boss Pep Guardiola.

UEFA Champions League semi-final first leg

Parc des Princes, Paris

Paris Saint-Germain - Manchester City

- Kick-off at 20:00 GMT

After knocking out giants Barcelona and Bayern Munich to reach the final four, Paris Saint-Germain now face the might of Manchester City as they look to take an option on a second-straight appearance in the final with a strong first-leg performance at the Parc des Princes on Wednesday night.

While City's technical brilliance and status as runaway EPL leaders under the guidance of redoubtable coach Pep Guardiola makes them a bogey team for any European side, there are plenty of parallels between the two clubs.

Pochettino: 'It's never a personl affair'

Both are in the running to join the exclusive set of clubs - Barça, Bayern, Ajax, Celtic and Inter - to have claimed continental trebles and both feature expensively assembled, star-studded squads and high-profile coaches with an historic rivalry in La Liga and the EPL both looking to convert their Middle-eastern owners' massive investments into Champions League gold.

"In matches like these, it's always one team against the other. It's never a personal affair, and it won't be Pep against me. It will be a match between two great teams," said the PSG boss, who is tipped to stick to the 4-2-3-1 formation that has seen his side claim arguably more impressive scalps than City on the road to the semis this campaign. "Guardiola is one of the best coaches in the world, I admire a lot what he has achieved as a coach and as a player. I'm someone who loves football, and who is still learning, while all the time being competitive, and our objective is clear: to win."

Neymar Jr: 'We're going to get there'

Neymar Jr certainly feels that his side have nothing to envy their English rivals and, now back to full match fitness after an adductor injury, he is raring to fulfil the mission he signed up for when he made his world-record transfer from Barcelona.

"When I joined Paris, the objective was always to win the Champions League. We have all the ingredients necessary to win the competition, the players, the coaching staff... We're working very hard and the atmosphere is great, everything is done in order to win the trophies that we want to win," declared the Brazilian superstar. "We made it to the final last season and we hope to do so this year tooI am calm, and I have full confidence in our team and in my teammates. We're going to get there."

Captains return for crunch clash
With City at full strength - captain Kevin De Bruyne is tipped to start after recovering from recent foot and ankle injuries - PSG will need to be at their best, but the capital club will also have their fit-again captain available. Marquinhos has been training fully after an adductor injury sustained in the first leg of the quarter-final tie with Bayern and should start, bringing invaluable steel and experience to PSG's defence.

The Brazilian stopper should be partnered by Presnel Kimpembe in the centre defence with Alessandro Florenzi and Abdou Diallo out wide, while the established defensive midfield pairing of Idrissa Gueye and Leandro Paredes will look to muzzle City's brilliant midfield.

Attacking clout

In attack, Kylian Mbappé - whose brilliant goals did the first-leg damage against both Barcelona and Bayern - should start at centre-forward despuite tuaking a knock after bagging a brace in the 3-1 win in Metz at the weekend, while fit-again Marco Verratti is tipped to start in the playmaker's role while Neymar and Angel Di Maria bring their creative genius to bear from wide positions.

Probable teams

Paris Saint-Germain:
Navas; Florenzi, Marquinhos (c), Kimpembe, Diallo; Gueye, Paredes; Di Maria, Verratti, Neymar; Mbappé

Manchester City:
Emerson; Walker, Stones, Dias, Cancelo; De Bruyne (c), Rodri, Gundogan; Mahrez, Silva, Foden

>> CLUB PROFILE: Paris Saint-Germain

>> Mbappé fires PSG top

Top videos