Luis Enrique says Paris St Germain ‘very motivated’ for Champions Trophy

By Sports Desk January 02, 2024

Paris St Germain boss Luis Enrique wishes he could be playing for a title every week as he bids to land his first trophy with the club on Wednesday.

The Ligue 1 champions can open 2024 by claiming more silverware as they take on French Cup holders Toulouse for the Champions Trophy at the Parc des Princes.

PSG, winners of the trophy in nine of the past 10 years, go into game as strong favourites having opened up a five-point lead at the top of the table while Toulouse languish in the bottom three.

Enrique, the former Barcelona and Spain manager who took charge last summer, told reporters at a press conference: “We have the opportunity to play a match to win our first title this season, so that’s a source of motivation.

“Our aim is to win every title possible. It would be a reward for all the work we put in last year, so of course we’re very motivated.

“I’d love to be able to play for a trophy every week, like all the players.

“Of course, the motivation is greater than any normal league match. It’s going to be played at ‘home’ but as a neutral ground, so I imagine the atmosphere will be great.”

Toulouse have found the going tough under new manager Carles Martinez Novell on the domestic front but they finished second to Liverpool in their Europa League group.

Enrique expects them to be highly motivated and is taking nothing for granted.

He said: “Paris Saint-Germain lives for this type of match but both teams will be motivated.

“They’re a team that can do a lot with the ball and if you give them time, they’re very good at occupying space. Without the ball, they can also perform well.”

The game comes after PSG began the January transfer window by completing the signing of Brazilian defender Lucas Beraldo.

He could be the first of a number of additions.

Enrique said: “If I can have several players available in each position, I’d obviously be delighted.

“We’ll be paying close attention during this transfer window and we’ll see if there are any opportunities that allow us to improve the team.”

Ousmane Dembele is the latest addition to the PSG injury list with a hamstring problem but back-up goalkeeper Arnau Tenas is available after a shoulder issue.

Related items

  • PSG made to wait for Ligue 1 title after Monaco overcome Lille PSG made to wait for Ligue 1 title after Monaco overcome Lille

    PSG were forced to put their Ligue 1 title celebrations on ice after second-placed Monaco overcame Lille on Wednesday.

    Luis Enrique's side swept aside Lorient 4-1 after doubles from Ousmane Dembele and Kylian Mbappe, putting the pressure on the chasing Monaco.

    Yet Youssouf Fofana's third league goal of the season edged Adi Hutter's team to a 1-0 victory, delaying PSG's inevitable title success – barring a miraculous collapse.

    PSG, who also have a two-legged Champions League semi-final with Borussia Dortmund to come in May, are 11 points clear with just four top-flight games remaining.

    Having lost just once in Ligue 1 all season, PSG would secure back-to-back top-flight crowns if they overcome Le Havre on Saturday at Parc des Princes.

    Though victory appears likely against relegation-threatened Le Havre, the Parisians would still be crowned champions without victory if Monaco fail to win on their visit to Lyon the following day.

    Given the clash with Dortmund comes just four days after meeting Le Havre, Luis Enrique may rest the likes Bradley Barcola, Marquinhos, Achraf Hakimi, Vitinha and Warren Zaire-Emery, as he did against Lorient.

    While the title remains in PSG's hands, Monaco at least took a step closer to Champions League qualification with victory over Lille, sitting 10 points clear of fifth-placed Nice.

  • Xavi makes U-turn and elects to stay at Barcelona Xavi makes U-turn and elects to stay at Barcelona

    Barcelona head coach Xavi will continue in his role next season after an unexpected reversal of his decision to leave at the end of the 2023-24 campaign, according to widespread reports.

    The former Barcelona midfielder announced in January that he would walk away from the job at the end of the current season, even though his contract was due to run until the end of the following term.

    Xavi acknowledged the Barcelona role had taken its toll but reportedly changed his plans after a meeting with Blaugrana president Joan Laporta on Wednesday.

    The 44-year-old was initially appointed as Barca coach in 2021 before leading the LaLiga giants to the top-flight title in the 2022-23 campaign.

    Xavi's initial announcement of his intentions to depart Barcelona came after a tough period following defeats to Girona, Real Madrid and Athletic Club before revealing the news in the aftermath of a 5-3 loss to Villarreal.

    The Blaugrana turned their fortunes around after that decision became public, though, going 13 games unbeaten across all competitions.

    Unsurprisingly, that run encouraged Laporta, vice president Rafa Yuste and sporting director Deco to plead with Xavi to continue until the end of his agreed contract.

    Though that undefeated streak ended with a 4-1 defeat to Paris Saint-Germain that dumped Barcelona out of the Champions League quarter-finals, Xavi has now agreed to stay in his role.

    The league title is almost out of reach this term, however, as Real Madrid moved 11 points clear of second-placed Barca with Sunday's 3-2 Clasico victory.

  • Slot pursuit shows Liverpool running out of options, suggests Carragher Slot pursuit shows Liverpool running out of options, suggests Carragher

    Liverpool's pursuit of Feyenoord boss Arne Slot proves there is "a dearth" of elite coaches currently on the market, according to former Reds defender Jamie Carragher. 

    On Wednesday, widespread reports claimed Liverpool have entered talks with Feyenoord, who will reportedly demand at least €10million (£8.5m) in compensation to part with Slot.

    Slot joined Feyenoord in July 2021 after leaving AZ Alkmaar, leading the Eredivisie giants to the Europa Conference League final – which they lost to Roma – in his first campaign at the helm. 

    The club's second league title in 20 years followed in 2022-23, and though Feyenoord are set to relinquish their crown to PSV this term, they beat NEC Nijmegen to lift the KNVB Cup on Sunday.

    Xabi Alonso was thought to be Liverpool's primary target to replace outgoing boss Jurgen Klopp, but the former midfielder – who was also interesting Bayern Munich – has announced his intention to stay with Bayer Leverkusen.

    Sporting CP's Ruben Amorim was also linked with the post, but it is thought he is no longer a leading candidate. 

    Speaking in his role as a Sky Sports pundit ahead of Wednesday's Merseyside derby between Liverpool and Everton, Carragher warned the job will be a major step up for Slot if he is appointed.

    "What I would say is I think going from Feyenoord to Liverpool is a huge jump, and I think it shows at this moment that there's probably a dearth of real top managers out there," he said.

    "Initially it was Xabi Alonso, it's only his first full season as a manager. Then there was talk of Ruben Amorim from Sporting, again he's only 39. Now Arne Slot looks like he's the favourite.

    "I don't think it's like Rafael Benitez coming in, or Jurgen Klopp. Benitez came in off the back of two LaLiga titles and a UEFA Cup, Klopp had won a couple of league titles with Borussia Dortmund.

    "Liverpool were in a different space back then, certainly the team I was part of with Benitez… we were a team looking to qualify for the top four. It was the same when Klopp came in.

    "Liverpool are in a different area now, fancying themselves to challenge for the Premier League every season, and in next season's Champions League they'd expect to reach the quarter-finals at least.

    "I think it's a huge jump but he's obviously a great coach with a great track record with the clubs he's been at so far. We'll see."

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.