Paris Saint-Germain have reinforced their ambitions with the new four-year deal signed by superstar forward Neymar, according to Mauricio Pochettino.

After months of speculation, Neymar finally committed his future to PSG on Saturday.

The world's most expensive footballer joined the club in 2017 and has helped them to three successive Ligue 1 titles, two Coupe de France triumphs and the Coupe de la Ligue twice.

However, Neymar has been unable to propel PSG to Champions League glory, while his attempts to win the Ballon d'Or – often cited as one of the major factors behind his big-money move from Barcelona – have also proved fruitless so far.

Nevertheless, tying the 29-year-old down to a new contract has been a priority for PSG, who are also hoping to secure the long-term future of Kylian Mbappe. Links to Lionel Messi are sure to continue too, unless the Argentine superstar commits himself to Barca.

"It shows the ambitions this football club have," Pochettino declared ahead of Sunday's crucial clash with Rennes in Ligue 1, which comes five days after a Champions League exit at the hands of Manchester City.

"Not just for the present but also for the future. That shows everyone how this club thinks about the future, trying to improve and win, which is the main goal, even when we are in a complicated situation as we are now."

Pochettino also conceded his main task is to blend together the supreme individual talents he has at his disposal, adding: "The PSG family is happy for extending the contract of a player like Neymar.

"Our challenge is, with all the talent our players have, to play as a team. To put their talent in service for the whole team, to use their individual talent to improve the team as a collective.

"That is our challenge for the future. It is always easier to build up the future of your team with a player like Neymar, who is committed to stay here much longer."

NEYMAR AT PSG – BY THE NUMBERS

Neymar has made 112 appearances for PSG, scoring 85 goals.

His tally of 45 assists means he has registered 130 goal involvements, though that is some way short of the 182 Mbappe has managed since arriving from Monaco.

Mbappe does, however, take more minutes per goal involvement, scoring or assisting every 71 minutes in Ligue 1, while Neymar either scores or assists every 68 minutes, which is the best rate in the competition since Opta began recording such data in the 2006-07 season.

Neymar has also been crucial in the Champions League for PSG, albeit several untimely injuries have, in previous seasons, coincided with the French champions falling out of the tournament in the knockout stages.

Of the 65 matches Neymar has scored in across all competitions, PSG have only lost three times – against Guingamp in the Coupe de la Ligue in January 2019, Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League in February 2020 and Lorient in Ligue 1 in January 2021.

For much of his pre-match news conference, Pep Guardiola stuck to a familiar mantra of recent weeks.

Manchester City were 2-1 to the good against Paris Saint-Germain, with two away goals in the bank and a first Champions League final within touching distance.

All they had to do was "be who we are" and "be more calm". A two-time winner burnt five times at this stage of the competition with Barcelona and Bayern Munich, Guardiola exuded an authoritative air.

However, when the rampaging nature of some of City's European exits were put to him – most notably Mauricio Pochettino's previous visit to the Etihad Stadium with Tottenham – he conceded there was only so much he could do.

"Nobody can control the chaos," Guardiola said. Perhaps he'd checked the weather forecast.

Enjoying loosened COVID-19 restrictions, Manchester's beer gardens thronged with punters last weekend. A couple of hours before kick-off, a weather front blew in from somewhere near Old Testament Egypt.

Snow and hail flecked the first-half playing surface, but there was little cool about City's opening to proceedings.

Within 30 seconds, Phil Foden charged into Alessandro Florenzi. A minute later Fernandinho – Guardiola's customary flirtation with a surprise selection on these occasions – offered a similarly agricultural "Good evening!" to Angel Di Maria that apparently lingered.

Kyle Walker blocked from Neymar, Bernardo Silva blocked from Di Maria and then Walker erred to be outfoxed by Marco Verratti.

Of all the masterful playmakers on display, Verratti was the one who best retained his balletic poise despite the conditions. After half an hour, the Italy playmaker had completed 28 of his 29 passes, 18 of those probing menacingly inside the City half.

The hosts were creaking when referee Bjorn Kuipers awarded an absurd seventh-minute penalty. The ball struck Oleksandr Zinchenko's shoulder. Kuipers checked the monitor sheepishly and overturned his call while Zinchenko unloaded barrels of frustration and emotional energy in the direction of his assistant.

"Nobody can control the chaos."

Well, maybe Ederson can, high-risk/low-pulse goalkeeping replicant that he is. City finally enjoyed a period of smooth possession, moving the ball back to their Brazilian gloveman.

It might not be exactly "who we are" in Guardiola terms, but Ederson's booming 90-yard pass down the left was immaculate. Zinchenko, propelled by a mixture of shrewd positional play and righteous indignation, charged onto the pass.

Kevin De Bruyne was unable to convert, his shot blocked, but Riyad Mahrez was alert to the loose ball, becoming the second player from an English club to score in both legs of a Champions League semi-final after Sadio Mane in 2017-18.

Still, City did not completely settle. One ludicrously dicey roll out from Ederson to Silva saw Di Maria steal in and fire just wide from outside the box.

However, with Kylian Mbappe convalescing on the bench, PSG began to look a touch one-dimensional. The threat of the France star's electric pace in behind was replaced by Mauro Icardi's cloak of invisibility. By the time the former Inter striker was substituted in the 62nd minute, none of his 16 touches remained in the memory.

Mbappe's absence meant everything was happening in front of City and, although their defence had plenty of work to do, Walker, the irrepressible Zinchenko and John Stones all enjoyed stellar nights.

One exceptional Zinchenko challenge to deny Neymar early in the second half saw Stones envelope his diminutive colleague in a bear hug. At that stage in the contest, it was as valuable as any goal.

Then there was Ruben Dias. Perhaps nobody can control the chaos, but the hulking Portugal centre-back could probably block it.

No City player made more than Dias' three blocks. One of those appeared to be with his nose when Ander Herrera blasted goalwards. The former Benfica skipper bounced back up, looking convinced that there is no more fun to be had in the world than stopping a shot in a Champions League semi-final with your face.

Mahrez might beg to differ. Life in Manchester has not always been easy for the ex-Leicester City favourite, but he is now one of Guardiola's go-to men and a supplier of cutting edge within a team of whirring creators.

Two of those – De Bruyne and the now habitually brilliant Phil Foden – combined to create a wonderful second for Mahrez.

Chaos then consumed PSG, their race run. Di Maria kicked out at Fernandinho – Brazil getting one over on Argentina in that eternal battle of perpetual antagonism – and there was plenty more erratic nonsense to follow. Zinchenko was still adorably furious, but elsewhere there was a steely calm and abundant class in sky blue.

Mahrez rounded out his night of nights by doing a Dias, haring back into his own area to make a block. It nearly summarised a tale of mission almost accomplished, of chaos controlled.

Paris Saint-Germain have still not decided whether Kylian Mbappe will feature in the second leg of the Champions League semi-final with Manchester City on Tuesday.

Mauricio Pochettino's men face an uphill battle to progress to the final for the second successive season after losing the home leg 2-1 at Parc des Princes.

PSG must score at least twice to go through but could be without Mbappe, who missed Saturday's Ligue 1 game with Lens because of a calf injury.

He did not have a shot in the first leg, marking the first time he failed to muster an attempt after starting a game in his Champions League career.

Still, plotting a turnaround at the Etihad Stadium will be significantly more difficult without Mbappe, who has been involved in the most shot-ending sequences (60) of any player still left in the competition.

Since joining PSG in 2017, Mbappe has missed only two of their 38 Champions League games, with the capital club winning one and losing the other. Their shots-per-game average is 13.6 when he plays compared to 8.5 across the two matches he missed.

Asked about Mbappe's availability, head coach Pochettino replied on Monday: "We need to assess Kylian, today.

"He is going to start with an individual training session, we still didn't decide whether he is going to be available or not tomorrow.

"We will see today and take the decision tomorrow."

Idrissa Gueye will not feature after he was sent off in the first leg, the midfielder receiving a two-match ban for a straight red card he received during a second half in which PSG had just one shot and 35 per cent of possession.

Pochettino knows PSG cannot allow City to dominate the game again if they are to have a hope of getting through to the Istanbul showpiece.

"We need to be clinical and we need to be aggressive," he added. "We need two goals if we want to have the possibility to go through to the final. That is the objective and we are going to try.

"We need to take the risk, we need to be brave, we need to plan the game knowing Manchester City is a team that can manage a different way to play.

"It's going to be a battle, it's going to be difficult, but the most important thing is that we are going to be ready."

The odds are stacked against PSG, with English sides having won the previous 47 ties in the competition when they have won the first leg away.

However, Pochettino believes there will be no shortage of motivation to upset the odds in the PSG camp.

"Houston, we have a problem if we need to motivate our players," said Pochettino with a smile. 

"We need to have a call if that happens. Players love to play this type of game."

Kylian Mbappe has been named in Paris Saint-Germain's travelling squad for the crucial second leg of their Champions League semi-final at Manchester City.

The France forward was absent for Saturday's 2-1 Ligue 1 win over Lens having sustained a calf injury in the first-leg defeat to Pep Guardiola's side at the Parc des Princes last Wednesday.

Speaking after the Lens game, Pochettino spoke of his hope that Mbappe would be able to travel to Manchester as PSG – runners-up last term – attempt to rescue a tie in which they trail 2-1.

"I'm optimistic for Kylian," Pochettino told reporters. "We assess him day by day. I think he'll be able to play."

While it still remains to be seen if Mbappe will be back, PSG fans may feel reassured by the fact he was named as part of the travelling contingent.

Only Erling Haaland (10) has more goals than Mbappe's eight in this season's Champions League (slightly above an expected goals average of 7.31), while only four players have registered more than his three assists.

Mbappe ranks fourth for shots on target (15), second for 'big' chances scored (seven), fifth for chances created (20) and first for 'big' chances created (eight).

PSG also confirmed Idrissa Gueye would make the trip despite being suspended after being sent off in the first leg.

Kylian Mbappe should be fit to face Manchester City in the Champions League semi-final second leg, Paris Saint-Germain boss Mauricio Pochettino says.

The France star sat out the 2-1 Ligue 1 win over Lens on Saturday after sustaining a calf injury in the first-leg loss to Pep Guardiola's side this week.

In his absence, Neymar and Marquinhos secured a narrow win for the champions to put pressure back on title rivals Lille and give PSG a morale boost ahead of game against City on Tuesday.

Pochettino could offer no guarantees over Mbappe's availability after the match, but he hopes to have the forward at his disposal.

"I'm optimistic for Kylian," Pochettino told reporters. "We assess him day by day. I think he'll be able to play."

The win moved PSG two points clear at the top of the table, with three games remaining, ahead of Lille's clash with Nice.

Pochettino admired his players' battling qualities as they held off European-chasing Lens, who got a goal back through Ignatius Ganago with half an hour remaining.

"It was a very difficult match. Lens play really good football. I really like their game – we suffered," Pochettino said.

"We deserved to win. We had to work hard to get the victory.

"We'll see tomorrow the state of the players' condition. The calendar is crazy, especially in these circumstances. We'll wait until the last moment to make the best decision."

Pochettino admitted it had been tough to recover from their defeat to City, particularly after an impressive first-half performance.

They had nine shots to City's four in the opening 45 minutes and deservedly led through Marquinhos' header, but second-half goals from Kevin De Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez put the visitors in the driving seat.

Given that disappointment, Pochettino was thrilled with the level of fitness and attitude displayed against Lens.

"I liked my team's character," he said. "I didn't see my team tired in the second half. They looked good physically.

"The night after City was difficult. Against [City], we played our best 45 minutes of the past four months. It wasn't easy."

Kylian Mbappe will miss Paris Saint-Germain's game against Lens on Saturday due to a calf injury that could also rule him out of the Champions League trip to Manchester City.

Mbappe played the full game as PSG lost 2-1 to the Premier League leaders in the first leg of the semi-final on Wednesday.

However, the France international – who did not have a shot against City, though he did create four chances – is not fit to feature against Lens in Ligue 1, denying him the chance to add to his tally of 25 goals in the competition this season.

PSG boss Mauricio Pochettino was vague in his response when asked about the chances of Mbappe returning in time to play at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday.

"Kylian has a problem with his right calf," Pochettino told the media. "We hope it is not serious and that he can be back with us as soon as possible.

"He is an important player for us and when you don’t have a key player, it always has an impact. But we have players in the squad who can do well and fill in for him.

"This will get us close to the victory that we want, which is the most important thing."

PSG led 1-0 at half-time against City, captain Marquinhos heading them in front in the 15th minute at Parc des Princes. However, Pep Guardiola's side hit back impressively after the break, turning the game around thanks to goals from Kevin De Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez.

Despite the disappointing result, Pochettino insists the mood within the squad remains positive - and made clear the immediate focus is on the Ligue 1 title race, rather than the return meeting with City.

"After losing in the Champions League, the players want to be competing again to get over that bad feeling," Pochettino said.

"The players are doing well. We lost the first leg but are motivated and convinced that we can turn it around.

"With all respect to Manchester City, we will go there to play the game. The mood is good; we are motivated for the game tomorrow, which is the most important one."

Asked about the tactical approach for the second leg, he replied: "We want to reaffirm the positive things that we did in the first leg – and there were many of them. I think we have to analyse that.

"We did very well in the first half and were superior to City. We were in the second half as well, but after conceding two goals, which were tough blows for us to take, plus the sending off [of Idrissa Gueye], meant that we played with less players.

"The team remained mentally strong against a very good Manchester City team. In terms of tactics, we will be ready for a battle."

Paris Saint-Germain head coach Mauricio Pochettino pointed to his side's knockout away wins at Barcelona and Bayern Munich as he tries to reverse their 2-1 deficit against Manchester City in the Champions League semi-finals.

City triumphed 2-1 in Paris in the first leg of their final-four tie on Wednesday, leaving Pochettino's PSG with an uphill battle at the Etihad Stadium next week.

However, PSG eliminated Barcelona 5-2 on aggregate in the last 16 following a 4-1 win at Camp Nou before ousting holders Bayern on away goals following a 3-2 win at Allianz Arena in matches played behind closed doors.

"Of course, we played well in the first half [against Manchester City on Wednesday] and it's our hope to go and play well in Manchester away from home," Pochettino told reporters post-game.

"We played well in Barcelona and also in Munich. Belief is the most important.

"It's very important to have that information right now so that you can play the 90 minutes back and build on it."

It was the first time PSG suffered Champions League defeat when leading at half-time since 2001 – against Deportivo La Coruna.

PSG are winless in their four European games against City (D2 L2), only facing Juventus (eight) on more occasions without ever winning in their history.

PSG's star forwards Neymar and Kylian Mbappe – who failed to attempt a single shot for the first time in his Champions League career – had few chances on Wednesday, although Pochettino said "I think that will be different in a week".

Pochettino insisted Ligue 1 champions PSG – last season's Champions League runners-up – have the talent to overcome their first-leg deficit despite the enormity of the task against City.

"It will be complicated, because Manchester City are a great team, but we have to believe," Pochettino said. "We have the talent to do it."

PSG will be without Idrissa Gueye for the second leg after his red card for a late tackle on City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan, although Pochettino refused to criticise the Senegalese midfielder.

"I have nothing to say about it, it's football, it can happen," Pochettino added. "We all make mistakes, and he made it that way. It is an action that happens in football, it is not beautiful or good, indeed, but it can happen.

"Now we have to go ahead and prepare for the next game. We have to be ready for Saturday [against Lens in Ligue 1] and then Tuesday."

Mauricio Pochettino said it is difficult to accept Paris Saint-Germain's Champions League loss to Manchester City as he rued a game of "two different halves".

City seized control of the semi-final tie thanks to Wednesday's 2-1 victory in Paris, where Pep Guardiola's visitors produced a sensational second-half turnaround against PSG.

PSG captain Marquinhos opened the scoring in the 15th minute as last season's runners-up outplayed City in the opening half in the French capital.

But Kevin De Bruyne's awkward cross-cum-shot found the back of the net just past the hour-mark and Riyad Mahrez's free-kick put City ahead seven minutes later, while PSG ended the match with 10 men following Idrissa Gueye's 77th-minute red card.

The Ligue 1 giants face an uphill task reaching the Champions League final for a second consecutive season as head coach Pochettino lamented the manner in which the Ligue 1 champions conceded.

"There were two different halves. In the first half we did well. We created chances and deserved the lead, but in the second half they were better than us," Pochettino told BT Sport.

"The two goals were accidents, but they created more than us. In the end it was one half for each of us.

"We're very disappointed with the two goals. It's difficult to accept that this happened in the semi-final – it's really painful. In the second half they were more consistent.

"It was difficult for us to cope. Physically they were a little bit more aggressive. It was difficult for us to recover the ball."

It was the first time PSG suffered Champions League defeat when leading at half-time since 2001 – against Deportivo La Coruna.

PSG are winless in their four European games against City (D2 L2), only facing Juventus (eight) on more occasions without ever winning in their history.

"In football you need to believe. We go there in six days and will try to win and score goals," said Pochettino, who guided Tottenham to the 2019 Champions League final after dramatically upstaging Guardiola's City in the quarter-finals.

"Of course we are under a little bit of pressure, but in football you need to try."

Mauricio Pochettino described Manchester City as "one of the greatest teams in the world" led by the best coach in the game ahead of Wednesday's Champions League showdown with Paris Saint-Germain.

The two meet in Paris for the first leg of a mouthwatering semi-final that pits together two clubs who are yet to win the competition, with PSG beaten by Bayern Munich in last season's final.

PSG are winless in three previous matches against City, who are featuring in only their fourth European semi-final.

Asked if the size of the challenge against Guardiola's side was greater than when they gained revenge on Bayern in the quarters, former Tottenham boss Pochettino said: "I think Manchester City are one of the greatest teams in the world, with, for me, the best coach.

"Is it going to be tougher than Bayern? We don't know. There are always a lot of theories, but the most important is the 180 minutes.

"We are calm and we know we need to fight a lot to beat a really great team like Manchester City.

"It is going to be tough, but it is not important to play first at home or away, but you need to perform in the best way. From my experience in the Champions League it doesn't change too much.

"It is not a personal battle, it is Paris St Germain against Manchester City. Pep is one of the best, if not the best, coach in the world. I admire not only his titles but the legacy that he is building in football."

Pochettino enjoyed a victory over City in the last eight of this competition when he was in charge of Spurs, but he insists that will have no bearing over this encounter. 

"There is not really anything I can take from that game," he said. "Different teams, different players, different situations. Manchester City are a different team compared to when I was at Tottenham. So are PSG."

Guardiola will be taking charge of a joint-record eighth Champions League semi-final, which puts him level with Jose Mourinho.

Ominously for Pochettino, Guardiola boats a far superior record in their head-to-head tally, with the Spaniard taking 10 wins and five draws from 18 meetings.

It is business time in the Champions League as the 2020-21 semi-finals get under way with the first legs this week.

Chelsea visit Real Madrid, who have seen pre-match questions focus on their continued pursuit of the controversial European Super League.

In the other tie, Paris Saint-Germain are the only remaining outfit not to have signed up for the competition prior to its collapse, gaining favour with UEFA.

They have a tough ask against Manchester City, however, after Pep Guardiola's men collected their first piece of silverware this season in the EFL Cup final.

Using Opta data, we break down the two matches...

Real Madrid v Chelsea: Los Blancos yet to beat Blues or Tuchel

When English football fans consider their country's most-consistent representatives in the Champions League, Chelsea will not be the team that immediately springs to mind for most.

Yet this will be the Blues' eighth semi-final appearance at this stage of the competition, a record among Premier League sides, and they have every reason to feel positive about the Blues' chances here.

They have only lost the first leg in one of their previous seven Champions League semis and head into the tie in good shape domestically, with Thomas Tuchel inspiring a significant improvement in their fortunes since taking over in January.

The German was in charge of PSG as they lost in last season's final to Bayern Munich but boasts a strong record against Madrid, having faced them more often without losing in this competition than any other side (W1 D3). The only other coach to take them on as many times in the Champions League and not lose is Gerard Houllier (P4 W2 D2).

Further to that, Madrid's record against Chelsea is poor, as they've not won any of their three previous meetings. Los Blancos haven't faced any other side more often without winning in their entire history.

A key factor in Chelsea's run to the semis has been their solidity at the back, and Edouard Mendy has more than played his part.

The Frenchman has let in just two goals in his first nine Champions League matches; if he keeps a clean sheet on Tuesday, he will match the record set by ex-Madrid man Keylor Navas for fewest conceded in a goalkeeper's first 10 games.

Paris Saint-Germain v Manchester City: Pep back in the big time

If Madrid and Chelsea are vastly experienced at this level, the same is not exactly true of PSG and City. The Ligue 1 club are playing their third Champions League semi-final, while this is City's second.

Indeed, City have only progressed through one of their prior three semis in all European competitions, winning the Cup Winners' Cup on that occasion in 1970.

PSG are finally getting to grips with UEFA's premier club tournament, however, becoming only the third French team to reach the last four in consecutive seasons - after Saint-Etienne 1975-76 and Marseille 1990-91 in the European Cup - and bidding to be the ninth side to play back-to-back finals.

They will require a first win over City to get there, though, drawing two and losing the other of their previous three meetings. Only against Juventus (eight), Arsenal and Milan (both four) have PSG played more games without winning in their history.

And Guardiola, having finally returned to this stage, has the know-how his players might lack. This a record-equalling eighth Champions League semis appearance, level with Jose Mourinho.

Mauricio Pochettino, then Tottenham manager, eliminated Guardiola in their only past European clash two seasons ago at the quarter-final stage, although the Catalan coach has 10 career wins against the PSG boss.

Pochettino will rely heavily on Neymar, who has either scored (three) or assisted (one) in each of his previous three Champions League last-four outings, while Guardiola can turn to Kevin De Bruyne, with four goals and four assists across his past seven knockout appearances.

De Bruyne scored in both legs when City beat PSG in the 2015-16 quarter-finals and could join Neymar (four), Lionel Messi and Marcus Rashford (both three) in netting against the Parisians in three consecutive Champions League games.

Paris Saint-Germain head coach Mauricio Pochettino said star Kylian Mbappe asks about England and Spain amid speculation over his future.

Mbappe has been heavily linked with LaLiga champions Real Madrid, as well as Premier League holders Liverpool previously.

The France international is out of contract in 2022 but Ligue 1 champions PSG remain hopeful of re-signing the 22-year-old forward.

Pochettino was asked about his relationship with Mbappe ahead of Wednesday's Champions League semi-final first leg against Manchester City.

"Kylian loves football, he loves to talk about football," Pochettino said. "He asks about England – how is the game, the mentality and the culture there? – and also Spain and Argentina. He will watch, every day, games from England, France, Italy, Germany.

"He's only 22 but very mature, confident in his talent and open. He can speak French, of course, but also perfect English and Spanish. I speak in English and Spanish with him – more English than Spanish.

"I said to him the other day: 'I need to practise my French with you, to improve', and he said: 'Sure, but it's better for me to talk in English'. He loves to practise different languages.

"Before the [Champions League last 16] first leg in Barcelona, I told him that I'd won there one time with Espanyol and he said, very seriously: 'OK, tomorrow will be the second time'. I said: 'Are you sure?' And he said: 'Yes, don't worry. We are going to win'. He was laughing after the game and he said to me on the pitch: 'I told you, I told you, I told you'."

Pochettino spoke glowingly of fellow PSG star Neymar, who has also been linked with a move away from the French capital – a return to Barcelona continually discussed after he left Camp Nou in a world-record deal in 2017.

Neymar, who appears set to extend his PSG contract, has either scored (three) or assisted (one) in each of his previous three Champions League semi-final appearances, while he has had a direct hand in nine goals in his 12 matches against English sides in the competition (five goals and four assists).

"It's so easy with Neymar because you don’t need to do too much," Pochettino added. "From day one, he's been very open to work. He's very humble, he listens and always accepts all the instructions in a very good way.

"Brazilian players have something special inside. They love to play football because it's like a dance. They play like they are dancing. Ronaldinho was my team-mate when I was a PSG player and now Neymar. They need to feel good, to feel happy to perform in the best way."

PSG are just the third French team to reach the semi-finals of the European Cup/Champions League in consecutive seasons, after Saint-Etienne in 1975 and 1976 and Marseille in 1990 and 1991.

Pochettino's PSG are also looking to reach their second consecutive Champions League final, following their defeat to Bayern Munich in last season's showpiece.

PSG would be just the ninth side to do so in back-to-back campaigns, while only Atletico Madrid and Valencia failed to lift the trophy in either of their first two final appearances.

"The target in the last 10 years has been to win the Champions League and the club is working really hard to try to be there and win," said Pochettino, who upstaged Pep Guardiola's City en route to Tottenham's Champions League final appearance in 2019.

"It is that last step, which is always the most difficult. If you remember at Tottenham, it was always about the last step being the most difficult thing. But Paris Saint-Germain is there and now it is about winning. I love to feel this. I love to feel that you need to win every single game."

Paris Saint-Germain superstar Kylian Mbappe is not thought to be in danger of missing Wednesday's Champions League semi-final first leg against Manchester City despite sustaining a knock on Saturday.

Mbappe scored two of PSG's goals in their straightforward 3-1 win at Metz, a victory that lifted the Parisians back to the top of the table – at least until Sunday.

Those goals took Mbappe to 19 goal involvements away from home this season, more than anyone else in Europe's top five leagues, while only Erling Haaland (10) and Robert Lewandowski (nine) have more braces.

It continued the France striker's hot streak, taking him to nine goals in seven league games having previously only netted four times in nine top-flight matches.

There was a cause for concern late on as Mbappe suffered what appeared to be a heavy blow to his knee, with the 22-year-old subsequently substituted.

But Pochettino is not worried about his star man, who would be a major miss against City.

"It's a blow to the quads," Pochettino told Canal Plus. "I don't think it's much, we hope it's not serious.

"I don't think he's in danger for Wednesday. It's just a blow. It does not give us that impression [that he'll miss the City game].

"Kylian was calm at the time of his substitution, even though the blow was painful."

Marco Verratti, who also assured fans regarding Mbappe, felt that winning on Saturday was vital for ensuring a positive mentality going into the City clash and keeping the pressure on title rivals Lille, who face fourth-placed Lyon on Sunday.

"You have to win if you want to win this title," the Italy international said. "We want to win as many games as possible.

"I think we are having a good run. We are happy with what we have done so far.

"We are on our way to winning all the titles. We are coming into this match [City game] in the best possible way. We know that we meet a team like us who can also achieve a treble.

"They have confidence in themselves. It's going to be a nice game. We know that we have to be 100 per cent.

"We are there, we are ready. We will fight for 90 minutes on Wednesday. Then we will move on to the return leg."

Mauricio Pochettino knows the importance of rotation within his squad as Paris Saint-Germain prepare to fight on three fronts in the closing weeks of the season.

PSG secured a place in the Coupe de France semi-finals in midweek thanks to a 5-0 win over Angers, striker Mauro Icardi scoring a hat-trick on his return following a month out with injury.

Marco Verratti is also available again after overcoming COVID-19, though Pochettino did not reveal if the Italian midfielder will make his first start for the club since March 21 in Saturday's Ligue 1 trip to Metz.

As well as bidding to complete a league and cup double on the domestic front, PSG also have a Champions League semi-final coming up against Manchester City - they host the English side in the first leg on Wednesday.

"We need to manage the squad and the players well for every game so that we always send out a competitive team," Pochettino told the media on Friday.

"We have been playing every three days for three and a half months now and if we want to achieve our goals, all the players will be important.

"They will all need to take part and perform at a high standard, especially if we want to win all three competitions that we are competing in.

"We are happy with the team and the players and the effort they are making. Our idea is to always improve and evolve.

"We want to be better in every game. We are going to enter the most important part of the season, and we want to win all the competitions in which we are involved."

PSG sit a point behind leaders Lille in the table with five games to go as they chase a 10th Ligue 1 title.

They have won their previous nine league meetings against weekend opponents Metz, scoring 28 goals in the process at an average of 3.1 per game.

For Pochettino, making use of the resources he has available to him within the squad is crucial, considering the schedule during a campaign played out amid the backdrop of a health pandemic.

"It is not an advantage or a disadvantage. It is a case of adapting to the circumstances that we have never lived through in or life or in football," he replied when asked about constantly changing the starting line-up.

"It is down to the reasons and the circumstances which have meant that with COVID-19, our team has not been consistent in terms of having the same team.

"That is just a reality but is has nothing to with transfers in the future. It is to do with the circumstances we have had to live through with coronavirus and injuries. It doesn't just apply to us either, it goes for almost every club in the world.

"On top of that, we have been playing every three days, so rotation is needed to put out a competitive team and a fresh team at all times."

Metz are winless in their previous six Ligue 1 games (D2 L4) while PSG have won their past five away on the spin, their best run on the road since November 2019-February 2020.

Paris Saint-Germain coach Mauricio Pochettino was delighted with hat-trick hero Mauro Icardi's impact in Wednesday's 5-0 Coupe de France win after a month out with injury.

Icardi marked his first start for PSG in a month with a treble as they swept aside Angers to qualify for the Coupe de France semi-finals.

The Argentine, who spent last season on loan at PSG from Inter before signing permanently, has endured a difficult season impacted by injury.

"I'm glad Mauro scored three goals tonight," Pochettino said. "Anytime he's on the pitch, he has the opportunity to score.

"He's coming back from injury, I'm very happy with what he did."

Icardi has battled the likes of Neymar, Kylian Mbappe, Moise Kean and Angel Di Maria for a regular spot when fit.

Pochettino would not be drawn on whether Wednesday's hat-trick would help the Argentine's cause in a bid to start in Saturday's Ligue 1 clash with Metz.

"We will see Saturday who will start," Pochettino said.

"It is always difficult for a player to suffer from muscle damage and to be held back by health problems. Even more so in a season of difficult circumstances like this."

Icardi's goals take his season tally to 11 in all competitions, having made 21 appearances.

"I felt confident," Icardi said. "I'd already scored against Saint-Etienne and I was very confident that I could come back after a tough injury hit year.

"I'm slowly getting back to form and scoring goals is always important for strikers."

Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser Al-Khelaifi has struck a huge blow to the founding clubs in the European Super League by vowing his team will remain playing in UEFA competitions.

The French champions and Bayern Munich were two of the biggest teams not to commit to the breakaway continental tournament.

Six teams from the Premier League along with Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Juventus, Inter and Milan were revealed on Sunday to be the 12 founding clubs of the new lucrative competition to which they would have guaranteed access every season.

The proposals have attracted widespread condemnation, with even Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp and Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola – whose sides are involved – making clear they disagreed with the concept.

UEFA has unveiled its own new format for the Champions League, expanding the group stage and increasing the number of teams from 32 to 36 from 2024.

It is this structure which Al-Khelaifi believes in and he insists PSG will continue to operate under, dashing hopes that the Ligue 1 heavyweights may ultimately join the ESL.

Al-Khelaifi issued a statement on Tuesday after he was re-elected to the UEFA Executive Committee as a European Club Association (ECA) representative.

"Paris Saint-Germain holds the fine belief that football is a game for everyone," he said.

"I have been consistent on this since the very beginning.

"As a football club, we are a family and a community, whose fabric is our fans - I believe we shouldn't forget this.

"There is a clear need to advance the existing UEFA competition model, presented by UEFA yesterday and concluding 24 months' of extensive and collaborative consultation across the whole European football landscape.

"We believe that any proposal without the support of UEFA - an organisation that has been working to progress the interests of European football for nearly 70 years - does not resolve the issues currently facing the football community, but is instead driven by self-interest.

"Paris Saint-Germain will continue to work with UEFA, the European Club Association and all stakeholders of the football family based on the principles of good faith, dignity and respect for all."

Of his re-election, the PSG chief added: "I am honoured by the trust placed in me by my colleagues of the ECA to represent them on the UEFA Executive Committee.

"European football is at a pivotal moment, in which all stakeholders should work together; in good faith, with dignity, and to protect the game we all love."

Earlier, UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin thanked the club officials who have stood by Champions League reform proposals.

He was speaking at the UEFA Congress the day after criticising those involved in the breakaway European Super League in emotional comments.

Ceferin picked out Al-Khelaifi, who was present at the event in Switzerland, for praise, calling him "a great man" and adding that he had shown he "respects football and its values".

After a 3-2 win over Saint-Etienne in Ligue 1 on Sunday, PSG are at home to Angers in the Coupe de France quarter-final on Wednesday.

Head coach Mauricio Pochettino said: "It is hard to express an opinion [on the Super League], we must take precautions because we do not know everything under the surface.

"We will see what happens in the next few days to give an opinion.

"We are currently still in three competitions [Ligue 1, the Coupe de France and Champions League], so we must focus on it and focus above all on the game.

"The Coupe de France is a special competition for the Parisians, for the players and the club. We're really attached to this competition.

"We hope Kylian [Mbappe] will be able to continue in the same way through to the end of the season. He's in great form, all the better for the team. 

"The atmosphere has always been good since I arrived, but the win over Saint-Etienne gave the squad an extra boost of energy."

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