The centre-back is gearing up for an enticing Champions League tie against Real Madrid and is confident of a great display from his side
Dear fans and football lovers,
The Champions League is back for the second half of the season. On February 14, we will take on Real Madrid. This is the chance to talk about my experience in the competition, what has changed at PSG this season and how I see the tie against Madrid.
Personally, it’s going to be a great challenge. Every time we face an opponent of the highest level, we have to be 150% focused and show a lot of energy on the pitch. We will have to put in a perfect performance to win in Madrid. For me, it’s a joy to play against the best attackers in the world. The only thing on my mind is to put in a good performance and make my fans smile.
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Our experience in the Champions League has changed. We went through two very different matches against Barcelona last season, but we learned a lot from it. Those two games helped us to mature and to improve ourselves. Not just myself, but the whole team!
The remontada is no longer on our mind. We go through good and bad moments in our careers. When we win a game, we move on quickly because we usually have another game a few days later. It is the same when we lose. I think that we have to learn how to deal with those moments. These experiences are part of our development. But we are no longer thinking about it.
We have to focus on the here and now and we are more ready for the challenge this season than we were last term. PSG has entered a new dimension and we have even more potential than the last few years. We finished first in our group, whereas last year we had to settle for second place.
The team went through a bad time last year. We started well, but made some mistakes that complicated matters. We put in a good performance in the first game and everybody knows what happened in the return.
The Champions League is very special. What we are doing in Ligue 1 counts for nothing in Europe. For example, the Premier League is very competitive. There are a lot of teams on a high level, but English teams do not often win the Champions League. The fact that we sit top of the table in Ligue 1 does not matter much against Madrid. It will be a tie between two strong teams from different leagues, that is all there is to it.
I think we will put in a great performance in Madrid. We know what to do and we have gone through certain things that have changed us. We now know what sort of errors we cannot afford to make if we want to win this. First of all, we have to show the same attitude as in home games. We have to believe in ourselves and show confidence, even when it is a difficult match. We need to play as a team. We know what we can do and what our philosophy is, it is up to us to show that in Madrid.
We all know that a very strong team awaits, a team that has won the Champions League the past two seasons. We are well aware of their ability. It will be a game between two teams that have the potential to go far in this competition.
I am expecting a very difficult game. I cannot wait for it and I hope we will get a good result, that we will put in the perfect performance and that the entire team performs at a high level. We will all be ready for it, but we know a dangerous team awaits, an experienced side that have won the Champions League before. They might not be at their best right now, but we have a lot of respect for them. But when we get out there, we will put that respect aside. We both have 11 players and we will give our all to emerge victorious.
Meanwhile, we are preparing and talking about the game every day. We are talking about our goals. We know that every day is different. We are preparing physically, but also mentally. It is all part of the game. I think the team has been in good form. We also know we have to keep improving, though. We have had some good games and some good results, which gave us a lot of confidence. We have also had difficult games, but the team is going through a good moment. We have the ambition and motivation to reach our objectives.
We know that there is a lot of excitement and expectation following our signings this season. We brought in some real champions, who know how to win the Champions League. But it is not easy to win the Champions League, it is a long path to get there. There is no margin for error. We have reached the decisive stages of the season. This motivates me, it is something that can help us move forward again. We are all aware of the pressure, we have all been through it before and we have to turn this pressure into something positive, not negative.