Paris Saint Germain vs Barcelona - Emery: Motivated PSG do not feel inferior to any team

Posted Monday, February 13, 2017 by PA

Paris St Germain coach Unai Emery insists his team do not feel inferior to the likes of Barcelona.

The Ligue 1 winners for the past four years take on the five-time European champions in an eagerly-anticipated last-16 tie in the Champions League.

Barca prevailed when the sides met in the quarter-finals in 2013 and 2015 but Emery has no doubt ambitious PSG now belong on the same stage as the Catalan giants.

Emery, speaking ahead of the first leg at the Parc des Princes on Tuesday, said: "The squad is very motivated. We don't feel inferior to anyone.

"We have very important players who are growing at PSG and who want to write a wonderful story, as individuals and with PSG."

PSG have reached the last eight for the past four seasons and want to establish themselves among the elite of the European game. The club has long wanted ties of such glamour and significance as a regular feature of their fixture lists and Emery believes his side are now capable of winning them.

Speaking at a press conference, the Spaniard told reporters: "It should be a good, attractive tie. It'll come down to who plays better at crucial moments, who gets their tactics right and who wins the duels on the pitch.

"We want to seize this chance because we're playing against one of the best teams in Europe and the world. It'll be difficult for us - but also difficult for them."

For PSG's prolific striker Edinson Cavani the tie is one to savour as he comes up against Uruguay team-mate Luis Suarez. The pair, who both hail from the same town, Salto, have been among the most in-form forwards in Europe this season with Cavani netting 33 times for PSG and Suarez 25 times for Barca.

Cavani told "There are lots of things that get forgotten in football as things keep moving on, but moments like these when you face off against an international team-mate, someone from the same city as you and was born in the same year as you, you've got to relish those things because before you know it they're gone, and if you don't hold onto them a bit, football has a short memory and they get forgotten."

Barcelona warmed up for the trip to the French capital by thrashing Alaves 6-0 at the weekend. The gloss was taken off that performance by a serious ankle injury to in-form right-back Aleix Vidal, who could now miss the rest of the season, but confidence in the camp is high.

Midfielder Ivan Rakitic said: "Our performance was complete and was one of the best of the season.

"We are improving week after week. Paris will be a difficult game but we are optimistic and we'll give everything we've got."

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