Champions League

Blanc: PSG can reach Champs League semi's

Laurent Blanc (File)
Laurent Blanc (File)

Doha - Paris Saint-Germain coach Laurent Blanc said Tuesday he thinks his side are ready to reach at least the Champions League semi-finals for the first time in more than 20 years.

Speaking ahead of PSG's friendly clash on Wednesday in Qatar against Italy's Inter Milan, Blanc said it was right that the pressure was on for PSG to perform in European football's biggest domestic club competition.

At a joint press conference with Inter coach Roberto Mancini, Blanc said: "A season is judged on every trophy there is to win.

"In France last year we had a perfect season but quite rightly the expectation for a club of our size is to have a big performance in the Champions League.

"To be good in the Champions League, you have to be good in the league. It's easy to say we need to qualify for the semi-finals, but harder to achieve.

"I believe my players are ready to reach that goal this year, however."

PSG have qualified for the last 16 of the tournament where they will play English champions Chelsea for the third successive season.

Chelsea triumphed in 2014 but PSG gained revenge in last season's competition, before being knocked out by eventual winners Barcelona.

PSG last reached the semi-finals in 1994/95, inspired by the tournament's top scorer that season, George Weah. They were eventually beaten by AC Milan.

The Parisians have reached the last eight of the tournament in the preceding three seasons.

Blanc added that some players might leave during January but refused to speculate.

"I don't have to answer you on this specific topic as we came here to talk about tomorrow's game against Inter. We didn't come here for the market."

Inter have been linked to PSG winger Ezequiel Lavezzi and the coach of the Italian league leaders Mancini joked that the two sides could talk after the game.

Lavezzi, along with other South American stars who play for PSG, arrived in Doha on Tuesday, two days later than the rest of the side.

Mancini added that his team would be taking the friendly seriously.

"Tomorrow we'll play against Paris Saint-Germain. It is one of the top teams in Europe at the moment but I think that there is one game. Inter-PSG, I think that is a good game."

The match has caught the imagination of the Qatari public and is a rare sell-out at the 15,000 Jassim Bin Hamad stadium in Doha.

The stadium is home to Al Sadd, the team for which former Barcelona legend Xavi Hernandez now plays.

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