Luis Enrique urges PSG to keep their heads in Le Classique

By Sports Desk March 30, 2024

Paris St Germain manager Luis Enrique has urged his players to keep cool heads ahead of their Ligue 1 clash against Marseille.

PSG head to the Orange Velodrome for Easter Sunday’s ‘Le Classique’, staged between two of France’s biggest club sides.

The visitors will be the favourites to emerge from the clash with another win on their unstoppable march towards the Ligue 1 title.

The Parisians are 12 points clear of second-placed Brest, and hold an aggregate 7-0 scoreline against Marseille in the last two head-to-heads.

But Enrique warned: “These are different matches, because of the rivalry between the clubs and the fans.

“You have to go into them highly motivated, and you have to be able to manage your nerves and stay calm.

“I’m very aware of the importance of Le Classique for the players, the fans and the club. My job is to ensure that everything goes as well as possible for us.

“Our aim is to win, to keep getting closer to the title and to beat our rivals. We want to go to Marseille to be competitive, and we are concentrating on our strengths, on what we know how to do, to win matches.”

Kylian Mbappe told PSG just last month that he will leave the club when his contract expires at the end of the season.

PSG have endured three draws in the five league matches since the France international’s decision.

However, during that period, PSG have also booked their place in the quarter-finals of the Champions League, and broke up for the international fixtures with a thumping 6-2 win at Montpellier, with Mbappe scoring a hat-trick.

But Enrique was dealt an injury blow during the international break, with winger Bradley Barcola sidelined for the foreseeable future after he picked up a muscular injury while on duty for France Under-23s.

“I can’t talk about the length of Bradley Barcola’s absence because it is in the hands of the medical staff,” added Enrique.

“But after this international break, almost all the players are ready. We’re at a pivotal point in the season.

“We have to think of the team first, which takes priority over personal interests. But I’m pleasantly surprised by everyone’s physical condition, especially in training.”

Marseille manager Jean-Louis Gasset oversaw a five-game winning sequence on his arrival at the club, but his side host the champions following successive defeats against Villarreal in the Europa League, and at Rennes in Ligue 1. They are seventh in the table.

Related items

  • New York City FC v San Jose Earthquakes: Cushing urges home fans to 'make a noise' New York City FC v San Jose Earthquakes: Cushing urges home fans to 'make a noise'

    Nick Cushing is looking forward to New York City FC's next home game against San Jose Earthquakes on Friday and asks the fans to "build an atmosphere".

    NYCFC are on a four-match winning run and beat derby rivals New York Red Bulls 2-1 in their most recent outing at Citi Field.

    That run means they sit in third in the Eastern Conference and are eight points behind leaders Inter Miami.

    NYCFC have the opportunity to close the gap to second place with Cincinnati not in action this weekend, and Cushing is hopeful the fans can give the team an added boost as they try to maintain their recent winning streak.

    "I love playing in front of our fans," Cushing said.

    "I love playing at home. It is the last game before we get a bye week and an international break, and it's Friday night under the lights.

    "The Red Bull game was amazing because of the atmosphere, the crowd, the amount of fans we got in, and the way that we played.

    "We just want to make sure that we deliver a performance every game that makes people want to come to the stadium. A performance that makes people excited and makes them want to make a noise and build an atmosphere.

    "We encourage fans to be super noisy for us because it helps us. We want to keep adding wins. I'm excited, and I want to make sure that we start the game in a way that makes us really work together – ourselves and the fans – and then go and get another win."

    San Jose, meanwhile, sit second from bottom of the Western Conference, eight points off a playoff spot.

    They have not won any of their last three outings, though their last win did come on the road when they beat Colorado Rapids 3-2 on May 12.

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    NYCFC – Tayvon Gray

    Gray has recorded the assist on the winning goal in each of NYCFC's last two matches.

    It is the first time in his career that he has recorded an assist in consecutive MLS matches as he had recorded just one assist in his previous 33 games dating back to September 2022.

    San Jose Earthquakes – Cristian Espinoza

    Espinoza recorded his eighth assist of the season in San Jose's draw with Austin on Saturday, setting up a goal for Jeremy Ebobisse.

    Ebobisse is the seventh different player Espinoza has recorded an assist for this season – the only player he has set up twice is Amahl Pellegrino.

    MATCH PREDICTION: NEW YORK CITY FC WIN

    New York City have won five of their six all-time meetings with the Earthquakes (D1), including the last four in a row. NYCFC has scored multiple goals in all five wins, including scoring 10 times in their home matches against the 'Quakes (all wins).

    Indeed, NYCFC have won seven of their last eight matches (L1), including the last four in a row, and could equal the longest regular-season winning streak in club history (five straight in 2019).

    Meanwhile, San Jose have won only two of their last 48 regular-season road matches against Eastern Conference opposition (D11 L35) dating back to May 2012. The Earthquakes have managed to draw each of their last three road matches against Eastern teams, including a 1-1 draw at Nashville in April.

    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    NYCFC – 59.5%

    Draw – 21.2%

    San Jose Earthquakes – 19.3%

  • Cavani retires from international football ahead of Copa America Cavani retires from international football ahead of Copa America

    Edinson Cavani has announced his retirement from international football, meaning he will not represent Uruguay at the Copa America.

    The 37-year-old is Uruguay’s second-most capped player with 136 appearances, and their second-highest scorer (58) behind only Luis Suarez.

    Cavani made his debut in a friendly draw with Colombia in February 2008 and was part of the team that won the 2011 Copa America title.

    However, the striker has not made an appearance for his national team since the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, when they were knocked out in the group stages.

    In a post on social media, Cavani said: "My beloved Celeste, I just want to thank you for every lesson you gave me under your process.

    "I won't take long. Today my words are few but profound. Thanks to every single person who was a part of this road over the years. I was and always will be blessed to have worn this jersey representing what I love most in this world, my country.

    "They were without doubt so many wonderful years. I have a thousand things to say, tell and remember, but I want to dedicate today to this new stage of my career and give everything I've got to where I'm supposed to be now.

    "I have decided to step aside but with my heart still beating, as it was when it was my turn to take to the pitch wearing this beautiful jersey. Sending a strong embrace to all of my fans."

    Uruguay will begin their Copa America campaign against Panama on June 23.

  • Yorke hails 'remarkable job' by Emery at Villa Yorke hails 'remarkable job' by Emery at Villa

    Former Aston Villa striker Dwight Yorke believes Unai Emery has done a "remarkable job" and hopes they can maintain the new level they have reached.

    Emery joined Villa in November 2022 when the club was in a relegation fight, and led them to a seventh-place finish, securing qualification to the Europa Conference League.

    In his first full season in charge, the Spaniard oversaw another impressive campaign as the Villans finished fourth in the Premier League, ensuring Champions League football for the first time since 1982-83.

    Villa also reached the semi-final of the Europa Conference League after seeing off Ajax and Lille in the knockout stages, but were knocked out by eventual champions, Olympiacos.

    On Monday, Villa confirmed that Emery had signed a contract extension that will keep him at the club until 2029.

    Yorke, who spent nine years at Villa between 1989 and 1998, says the club have finally found the right balance.

    "They've got good backers, good owners, invest heavily in their team and that shows what they want, but they've got also you need a correct manager and I think Unai Emery has come into that category," Yorke told Stats Perform.

    "Villa is a tremendous football club. Emery has done a remarkable job to get Villa in the Champions League, a bit like Newcastle last season in many respects.

    "Now the expectation is can he now really show what kind of manager he is? Now the [board] and the chairman will back him, bringing new players, bringing players to enhance that team, and they are going to try and maintain that [status as a top club].

    "If he does that next year and qualifies for the Champions League again, plus probably win a cup, I think he then shows what really a true fantastic manager he is for Villa.

    "To achieve their goal this season, I think the chairman, the fans, everybody will be thrilled that Villa is in the Champions League next year."

    Despite their strong season, Yorke admits that Villa will need to think about adding to their squad to cope with the demands of playing in the Champions League.

    "You have got to say to the owners, listen I need another three, four, five players to come in because now you're playing with the big boys, you're going from Champions League to the Premier League to the Champions League with the big boys," he added.

    "You need a squad to be going into these games. The players will find it totally different because they're not used to that.

    "They have got get used to that very quickly, but you've got an experienced manager in that type of way of playing [in Europe as well as domestically]. It will be new for Villa.

    "It will be interesting to see how they handle that type of story going forward, how they handle the Champions League.

    "It takes a really unique manager to then get a team advancing out of that group, then into the latter stage from the round of 16.

    "[If Emery does that], now you're showing your true colours, but I think they've got to add maybe three or four new players to the squad that will help them to make sure that they can maintain [a challenge] on both fronts."

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.