Mauricio Pochettino says Paris Saint-Germain will not have revenge on their minds when they play Bayern Munich in their Champions League quarter-final after losing to the German team in last season’s final.
Bayern beat PSG 1-0 in the final last year to seal a treble but Pochettino, who replaced now-Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel at the Parc des Princes midway through this season, said this time would be different as they were playing a two-legged tie.
“The final is not a benchmark match for us, we weren’t there with my staff, we were just spectators,” Pochettino said ahead of Wednesday’s first leg in Munich.
“In addition, it’s going to be played over two matches, the context is different. Revenge exists in sport but for us it’s more of a challenge to beat such a strong team, maybe the best in the world. It’s a source of motivation.”
When asked about the absence of Robert Lewandowski, Pochettino added: “The strength of Bayern is in its collective. When you win the Champions League and the Club World Cup, it’s because you have a very good group, not just 11 performing players.”
PSG striker Mauro Icardi is out of the fixture with a thigh injury while Italian duo Marco Verratti and Alessandro Florenzi will both miss out after testing positive for Covid-19.
Neymar was sent off in a 1-0 loss to Lille over the weekend and Pochettino said the Brazil forward’s emotions got the better of him in his first Ligue 1 start in over two months.
“He was very excited to start a match. He’s an emotional player, he likes to play, he likes to fight, he’s a competitor. He didn’t deserve that red,” Pochettino said. “But he knows he has to channel himself. I hope that tomorrow everything will be fine.”
Flick: Gnabry out with Covid; PSG a new team
Bayern Munich winger Serge Gnabry has been ruled out of Wednesday’s Champions League quarter-final first leg against Paris Saint-Germain after testing positive for COVID-19 while midfielder Marc Roca will miss the game due to injury.
Manager Hansi Flick, who has led the club to six trophies in the last 10 months including the Champions League, said Spaniard Roca suffered an injury on Sunday and was out. Gnabry was unlikely to be included due to a sore throat, but the club later revealed the 25-year-old had tested positive and was quarantining at home.
The two sides met in last year’s Champions League final with Bayern winning the trophy but that counts for little now, said Flick.
“Paris are a new team with a new coach,” he said. “I don’t think that game matters anymore. We want to reach the semi-finals and the final. That is our aim.”
“They have a solid defence, a very good goalkeeper, but up front they have enormous quality. If we lose possession then we have to stop them quickly. We also have to put them under pressure early.
“We have to be confident in our attack, a bit more decisive than Leipzig and also be strong from the start. We will get our chances but we have to play them out better.”