Paris Saint-Germain’s coach Unai Emery attends his team training session on the eve of the UEFA Champions League football match Paris-Saint Germain vs Arsenal, on September 12, 2016 at the Ooredoo training centre in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, outside Paris
FRANCK FIFE / AFP
Emery expecting ‘great tactical game’
Paris Saint-Germain’s main aim this season is to go further in the Champions League, according to midfielder Marco Verratti.
The French champions have reached the quarter-finals of the competition in each of the last four years, but they have not progressed to the last four since 1994-95.
PSG begin their European campaign at home to Arsenal today, and Verratti is hoping to see his side get off to a good start against their Premier League visitors.
“We all have the same goal – our goal is the Champions League,” he told a news conference ahead of the game. “We must go further than last year and work hard.
“Arsenal are a good team that are used to playing in the Champions League. We are motivated. We are happy to play against a great team in our stadium and in front of our public.”
And Verratti also insisted he is happy to be part of Unai Emery’s PSG team, regardless of what role he is given within the side.
Italy boss Giampiero Ventura recently claimed the 23-year-old was frustrated at being deployed in an unfamiliar more advanced position, but Verratti claimed that is not the case.
“I feel good when I play, my position on the pitch is not important,” he said.
Meanwhile, PSG’S coach Unai Emery has spoken of his admiration for Arsenal counterpart Arsene Wenger and is expecting a demanding tactical battle in their Champions League clash today.
The teams meet in the group stages at Parc des Princes having both endured mixed starts to their respective league campaigns.
PSG have never beaten Arsenal, with the clubs’ only previous meeting a two-legged affair in the semi-finals of the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1993-94, edged 2-1 on aggregate by the Gunners, but Emery is looking forward to pitting his wits against Wenger.
“It will be important to have the ball and manage the positioning to attack, and then to defend when we do not have the ball,” the Spaniard told a news conference.
“It will be a great tactical game, a great game with great players.
“I admire Arsene for his work and his ability to work in a club like Arsenal for so long – like [Alex] Ferguson at Manchester United before him. Everyone would like to be in his situation.”
Emery also confirmed PSG could be boosted by the return to fitness of Thiago Silva, who may play some part against the Gunners.