Herrera 'optimistic' over Mbappe as PSG focus on Champions League

By Sports Desk August 01, 2020

Ander Herrera remains hopeful Paris Saint-Germain team-mate Kylian Mbappe will be back in time for the return of the Champions League.

Mbappe suffered an ankle injury during the Coupe de France final against Saint-Etienne on July 24, with the club revealing the "serious" sprain would likely keep the 21-year-old out for three weeks.

The France international watched on as PSG completed a domestic clean sweep on Friday, securing victory in the last ever Coupe de la Ligue final via a penalty shoot-out against Lyon.

Thomas Tuchel had said on the eve of the match that Mbappe requires a "miracle" to be ready for the quarter-final tie with Atalanta, which takes place in Lisbon on August 12.

Herrera, however, is more upbeat over the forward's chances, though is confident the squad can still prosper without him.

"We are optimistic with Kylian. We have seen that he can walk quietly," the former Manchester United midfielder said after the game with Lyon.

"He's very professional, he's young. He really wants to play and we can be very calm. He works every day, morning and afternoon. But if it's not possible for him to play, we also have other solutions.

"Kylian is very important and I'm sure he will try to play."

PSG are next in action on Wednesday, taking on Sochaux in a friendly prior to resuming their European campaign.

All ties from the last eight onwards will be staged over one leg, with the Ligue 1 champions knowing a win over Atalanta will see them face either Atletico Madrid or RB Leipzig in the semi-finals.

"It's a fantastic week for us," Herrera said after completing a dominant domestic campaign. "We won two titles and we are very, very happy.

"A lot of players have played and participated in this success - I can say that we are ready for the Champions League now."

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    — UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) August 10, 2020 ATALANTA V PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN

    0 - PSG have never won a game against Italian opposition in the Champions League, failing to keep a clean sheet in any of their previous six encounters.

    1 - Atalanta are the first Champions League debutants to reach the quarter-finals since Leicester City in 2016-2017 and the first Italian side to do so since 1999-2000.

    4 - The Serie A outfit have won their last four matches in the competition - the longest current run alongside fellow quarter-finalists Bayern Munich.

    16 - No team still left in the tournament has conceded more goals than the 16 Atalanta have let in across their eight games.

    32 - PSG have scored in each of their last 32 Champions League games in a run stretching back to the 2015-16 quarter-finals when firing a blank against Manchester City. 

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    — Paris Saint-Germain (@PSG_English) August 10, 2020 RB LEIPZIG V ATLETICO MADRID

    1 - Not only will this be the first competitive encounter between the sides, it is also the first time Leipzig have been drawn against a Spanish club in European competition.

    5 - Atletico are contesting their fifth quarter-final in the last seven years - only Barcelona and Bayern Munich can better that tally across the same timeframe.

    0 - None of Leipzig's 14 previous Champions League games have ended goalless.

    4 - Four of the German side's last eight goals in the competition have come from the penalty spot. Indeed, only Atalanta (5) have benefited from more penalties this season.

    12 - Since the start of 2019, 12 of the 14 goals Atletico have scored in UEFA's showpiece competition have been scored after half-time.

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    — Atlético de Madrid (@atletienglish) August 9, 2020 BARCELONA V BAYERN MUNICH

    18 - Both sides are through to the last eight of the Champions League for an 18th time, with Barcelona into a record 13th successive quarter-final.

    5 - The Catalan giants have been beaten in five of their eight previous encounters with Bayern in the competition, which is more than they have lost against any other side. 

    17 - Bayern striker Robert Lewandowski has been directly involved in 17 Champions League goals in 2019-20 - six more than any other player.

    8 - Hansi Flick's side have won their opening eight matches in the competition this term, with Barcelona the only side to have previously won nine on the spin.

    2 - Barca have lost just two of their last 31 Champions League games and are unbeaten this season - Bayern and Man City being the only other unbeaten sides.

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    — Memphis Depay (@Memphis) August 10, 2020 MANCHESTER CITY V LYON

    1 - City have reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League for a fourth time in five seasons, but have only progressed from one of their previous three appearances.

    4 - Lyon are unbeaten in their last four games against English opposition in this competition - a run that includes a win and a draw against City in last season's group stage.

    2 - Pep Guardiola progressed from his first seven Champions League quarter-finals but has been eliminated in his two appearances at this stage with City.

    3 - Gabriel Jesus could become the third player to score in three separate knockout games for City in a single season after Sergio Aguero and Raheem Sterling, both in 2018-19.

    6 - Lyon attacker Memphis Depay has scored in six successive Champions League matches. Ruud van Nistelrooy is the only Dutch player to go on a longer run (nine with Manchester United in 2002-03).

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