French football

PSG boss Pochettino warns players to forget Coupe de France romp past Lille

Paris Saint-Germain coach Mauricio Pochettino steered his side to a 3-0 win over Lille in the last-16 of the Coupe de France on 17 March.
Paris Saint-Germain coach Mauricio Pochettino steered his side to a 3-0 win over Lille in the last-16 of the Coupe de France on 17 March. FRANCK FIFE AFP/File

Paris Saint-Germain coach boss Mauricio Pochettino on Friday urged his players to forget their comprehensive Coupe de France victory over Lille as the sides prepare to rejoin battle on Saturday in Ligue 1

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PSG go into the game at the Parc des Princes top of the division with 63 points - the same number as Lille - but they lead Christophe Galtier’s outfit on goal difference. 

On 17 March, Kylian Mbappé bagged a brace in a 3-0 rout to move PSG into the last eight of the Coupe de France.

“Every match is different,” warned Pochettino. “The competition also affects the performance.

“After the international break, we'll have to see what condition their players are in and what condition our players are in.

"We'll have to see how they coped with the matches. It's hard to predict what kind of game is going to take place.”

Absentees

PSG will be without midfield lynchpins Marco Verratti and Danilo Pereira. Defender Layvin Kurzawa and striker Mauro Icardi are also absent through injury.

However, Neymar is expected to feature in the match. The 28-year-old Brazilian was spared international duties after the South American confederation postponed 2022 World Cup qualifiers because of coronavirus quarantine rules for players travelling from and back to Europe.

“The international break was good for Neymar,” added Pochettino. “He was able to train at a good level. We are happy with his form and with the way he has improved his physique. It is clear that he now needs to play competitively.”

Stay

Galtier’s side moved to the top of Ligue 1 on 31 January after beating Dijon 1-0 at the Stade Pierre Mauroy.

They stayed there for seven more games until a shock home defeat to relegation-threatened Nimes on 21 March allowed PSG to gain the ascendance following their 4-2 win at Lyon.

On the eve of the top-of-the-table clash, Galtier was questioned about his future in northern France after reports emerged of talks with the Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas and the club’s sporting director Juninho about taking over from head coach Rudi Garcia.

"I want to confirm that there has been no contact,” Galtier told reporters. “They have not spoken either with me or with anyone in my circle.

“My relationship with Mr Aulas is very friendly but it is wrong to make people believe that we could be in contact at this particular stage of the season.”

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