Paris Saint-Germain duo Marco Verratti and Ander Herrera both accused referee Bjorn Kuipers of insulting them as the club crashed out of the Champions League in the semi-finals.

PSG's bid to reach back-to-back Champions League finals came to an end at the hands of Manchester City, who won 2-0 on Tuesday to progress to the tournament decider for the first time in their history 4-1 on aggregate.

Riyad Mahrez scored twice for City as PSG ended the second leg with 10 men after Angel Di Maria was red carded for kicking out at Fernandinho in the 69th minute.

Verratti and Herrera reacted angrily to the decision to send off Di Maria in Manchester, where PSG became just the third team to receive a red card in both legs of a Champions League semi-final after Deportivo La Coruna-Porto (2003-04) and Lyon-Bayern Munich (2009-10).

After last season's runners-up PSG were left licking their wounds, star midfielder Verratti and team-mate Herrera hit out at Kuipers.

"The referee told me 'f*** you' twice," Verratti told RMC Sport post-match.

"If I do that, I get a 10-man ban. Of course I talk a lot with the referee, but I never say f*** you."

Herrera added: "We talk about respect with the referees. The referee tonight said f*** to [PSG midfielder] Leandro Paredes.

"If we say that, we get a three or four-match ban."

PSG failed to land a single shot on target against City – the first time the French side have failed to do so in a Champions League game since 2003-04.

"We were the best team for 70 minutes," said Herrera. "We attacked, we created problems for a team that is playing very well.

"We can leave with our heads held high. We are of course sad. It is not easy to do so, to be a semi-finalist. We must not change what we did today. We played well. We did everything. There are always things to improve."

Marco Verratti believes Paris Saint-Germain must "suffer" to defeat Manchester City but does not think they need a miracle in the Champions League semi-final.

Mauricio Pochettino's side must overcome a 2-1 deficit in Tuesday's second leg at the Etihad Stadium, having let a first-half lead slip in last week's initial encounter.

City's capacity to establish suffocating midfield control after half-time in the Parc des Princes, laying the foundation for goals from Kevin De Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez to turn the tie in their favour, was very much in keeping with the style espoused by their manager Pep Guardiola.

Verratti expects more of the same in Manchester, but feels PSG must not be cowed as they seek to reach back-to-back finals.

"Guardiola has always done this. He likes to have control of the ball, accelerate when he wants, calm things down when he wants. You have to focus on us," the Italy midfielder told a pre-match news conference.

"We have a great team, a great coach. We must remain lucid, calm, we will have our opportunity.

"We did not lose 4-0 in the first leg, there is no need for a miracle. They have a small advantage, but we are there, we are close.

"It will go through small details. If City want to play with the ball, it will be up to us to play with our style of play tomorrow."

How successfully PSG can implement that style might well rest on the fitness of Kylian Mbappe, who will be assessed having suffered a calf injury in the initial game.

In terms of City's approach, Verratti is relishing taking on a collective of midfield playmakers for whom he has plenty of admiration.

"[De Bruyne], he's a very strong player, he's fantastic," he said.

"It's a very strong collective since the arrival of Guardiola. We had a good game in the first leg, the second half was less good, but because there is a great team in front.

"Gundogan and Rodri are very good players who control the team. You have to take control of the middle to have a great game."

As such, Verratti feels toil in pursuit of an against-the-odds victory is inevitable.

"We are not a team of aliens. We will suffer," he added.

"We play in the Champions League, one of the best teams in the world. The times when we have to suffer, we have to suffer together.

"It's sport, football, there are times to have chances and to score and others to suffer. Of course, it won't be easy to go to the final. We knew it.

"We suffered against Bayern Munich, against Barcelona, but we are ready to do anything during tomorrow's match."

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.

Mauricio Pochettino has confirmed Marquinhos and Marco Verratti are unlikely to start the second leg against Bayern Munich as Paris Saint-Germain look to reach the Champions League semi-finals.

Verratti, along with fellow Italy international Alessandro Florenzi, missed the first meeting between the teams in Munich after testing positive for COVID-19.

However, the duo have received the all-clear and are back in training ahead of the return fixture in the French capital, with PSG holding a 3-2 advantage at the halfway stage in the tie.

Pochettino told the media on Monday he is yet to decide on his line-up, with Marquinhos remaining a doubt due to a thigh injury.

"We haven't decided the team for tomorrow yet, but it will be difficult for Verratti to start," the PSG boss said in his pre-game news conference. "Florenzi will be assessed further tomorrow."

On Marquinhos' status, he added: "We will see how he feels tomorrow. In theory, he could be involved in the squad, so we will see.

"I don't think he will be able to start, certainly, but he may be able to be on the bench. We will decide that on Wednesday."

PSG knocked out Barcelona in the previous round 5-2 on aggregate, though were held to a 1-1 draw at home in the second leg following a resounding triumph at Camp Nou.

Pochettino is well aware that the tie with Bayern – who he made clear are the best team in the world – is much tighter, meaning his players must find the right balance between retaining their slender advantage and also posing problems in attack for their opponents.

"At home to Barcelona, particularly in the first half, we found it very hard to keep the ball, even with Verratti and Leandro Paredes in the team," Pochettino said.

"It is not about individual names but collective attitude. We have to have a different approach from the Barcelona game while understanding that we don't just need to defend but also to keep the ball to attack and hurt the opposition.

"This is the challenge that lies ahead, and once again we have a positive first-leg result to build on."

PSG have won all four of their previous games in which they have hosted the German side in European competition, while only three of the previous 50 teams to lose the first leg at home in a Champions League knockout tie have managed to progress.

Pochettino, though, is well aware of the size of the task the hosts face against the defending champions, with Bayern having gone 16 games unbeaten in the competition under Hansi Flick prior to the loss on home soil last week.

"The Barcelona game is the past, Bayern are the best team in the world at the moment so they will certainly make it difficult for us," the former Tottenham head coach said.

"We need the strength and ability to manage those moments, just as we did in the first leg in Munich.

"They are world champions who have won six trophies in recent months. We are the pretenders and contenders to win the trophy. We have to consider all the circumstances surrounding the tie.

"If we get through to the semi-finals, it will be a big achievement for the club. PSG want to win every competition we are involved in, but beating Bayern Munich, in itself, would be a big feat."

Alessandro Florenzi will miss the first leg of Paris Saint-Germain's Champions League quarter-final clash with Bayern Munich this week after testing positive for COVID-19. 

The full-back follows PSG team-mate and compatriot Marco Verratti in testing positive for the virus after returning from international duty with Italy. 

Both players missed their side's damaging 1-0 Ligue 1 defeat to Lille on Saturday and will be absent for the trip to Bayern on Wednesday, too. The second leg takes place on April 13.

A statement released by the club on Monday read: "Following the last Sars-Cov2 PCR test, Alessandro Florenzi is confirmed positive. 

"He will therefore respect isolation and is subject to the appropriate health protocol. As a reminder, the player had been in isolation for a few days as a precaution."

Florenzi has made 29 appearances in all competitions this season, scoring two goals for Mauricio Pochettino's side.

The former Roma man is the latest confirmed case connected to the Azzurri squad. The Italian Football Federation (FIGC) announced last Wednesday that four staff members had isolated away from the group following testing carried out prior to the midweek fixture against Lithuania. 

Juventus revealed on Thursday that Leonardo Bonucci had also returned a positive result upon returning to his club, while Sassuolo took the preventative step of leaving out their Italy players for the game against Roma on Saturday.

Paris Saint-Germain will be without Marco Verratti for the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final tie against Bayern Munich after the midfielder tested positive for COVID-19.

Verratti had suffered a thigh injury while away on international duty with Italy, forcing him to miss his country's World Cup qualifier against Lithuania on Wednesday.

The 28-year-old was already set to sit out PSG's pivotal clash with Lille this weekend as the top two in Ligue 1 go up against each other in the French capital.

However, confirmation of his positive test result means a period in isolation, ruling him out of contention for the trip to Bayern on Wednesday, too. The second leg takes place on April 13.

Verratti is the latest confirmed case connected to the Azzurri squad. The Italian Football Federation (FIGC) announced on Wednesday that four staff members had isolated away from the group following testing carried out prior to the midweek fixture in Vilnius.

Juventus revealed on Thursday that Verratti's international team-mate Leonardo Bonucci had also returned a positive result upon returning to his club, while Sassuolo have taken the preventative step of leaving out their Italy players for the game against Roma on Saturday.

While PSG will be hampered by the absence of Verratti, Bayern will also be without the services of a key figure for the repeat of last year's final.

Robert Lewandowski has been ruled out of the last-eight meeting entirely after suffering a knee injury while playing for Poland. The striker – who has scored 42 goals for his club in all competitions this season – is expected to be sidelined for a month.

Neymar remains on schedule with his recovery from injury and has been boosted by his return to individual training, Paris Saint-Germain coach Mauricio Pochettino said.

The world's most expensive footballer suffered an adductor injury against Caen in the Coupe de France on February 10.

A four-week lay-off was predicted, potentially allowing for a return against former club Barcelona in the Champions League on March 10.

However, PSG won the first leg 4-1 thanks to a Kylian Mbappe hat-trick, easing the pressure on Neymar ahead of his comeback.

The Brazil superstar has only appeared in 18 of PSG's 35 games in all competitions this season and their win rate has actually improved from 66.7 per cent with the forward to 70.6 per cent when he has been absent.

But Neymar has still been involved in 17 of the 33 goals PSG have scored with him on the pitch in 2020-21; his 13 goals and four assists have him rank second only to Mbappe - 21 goals and nine assists for 30 involvements - among Parisian players this term.

Pochettino will certainly relish having Neymar back in the fold and detailed his progress on Friday ahead of the weekend clash with Dijon.

"Ney follows the protocol that the medical staff have established for him," the coach told a news conference.

"He has started running again on the field and he has done individual physical exercises, not with the team.

"He is in a very good state of mind. He is happy. He is on schedule for his return and, until then, everything is under control."

PSG head to Dijon third in the table and four points off the pace, unable to afford another setback having lost to Monaco last Sunday.

That was their sixth league defeat this term, their most across a single campaign since 2010-11 (eight), the season prior to Qatar Sports Investments' lucrative takeover.

PSG will have to improve in the final third against Dijon, having mustered only a single shot on target at home to Monaco, but will have to cope without the talents of Marco Verratti.

The midfielder, who played 35 minutes as a substitute last week, in which time he played 38 passes in the Monaco half, sustained a knock in training.

"The team lacked freshness and therefore creativity against Monaco," Pochettino said, with Verratti having started from the bench after sparkling as he assisted Mbappe's first goal at Camp Nou.

"In Barcelona, ​​we had been good in this area. In Dijon, we will find solutions and the players on the pitch will be up to the task."

PSG will also be without Mauro Icardi (gastroenteritis), Alessandro Florenzi (adductor) and Leandro Paredes (suspension).

Marco Verratti acknowledged Paris Saint-Germain are "starting to lose a lot of opportunities" to retain the Ligue 1 title after their 2-0 home defeat to Monaco.

Five days after their thrilling 4-1 victory over Barcelona in the Champions League, PSG crashed to a damaging loss at the Parc des Princes on Sunday.

The defeat is the second of Mauricio Pochettino's tenure and leaves PSG third in Ligue 1, two points ahead of Monaco, in fourth, and four behind leaders Lille.

It means PSG remain winless in their four games against the other sides currently in Ligue 1's top-four positions this season, losing 3-2 and 2-0 to Monaco, 1-0 at home to Lyon and drawing 0-0 at Lille.

Verratti, outstanding against Barca, came on as a 55th-minute substitute in Paris, going on to attempt 43 passes – with an accuracy of 81.4 per cent – and create one chance.

"It was a difficult match; they have very good players, we knew it. It's the kind of match you have to win," Verratti told Canal+. "We are starting to lose a lot of opportunities for the title.

"We concede a goal after five minutes, that can't happen. We have to understand that there are great teams in France.

"We must always play as a team; no one gives us gifts, the other teams are playing the game of their lives against us.

"You have to rise to the occasion, deserve it, play 100 per cent, because otherwise you won't win."

After scoring a hat-trick against Barca, Kylian Mbappe turned in a disappointing performance against his former club.

Since he joined PSG in 2017, Mbappe has scored seven goals against Monaco in Ligue 1; he has only found the net more often against Dijon (nine) in the top-flight during that period.

However, he failed to shine on Sunday. The 22-year-old did not register an attempt on goal and created just one chance.

Pochettino refused to pin the defeat on Mbappe, though.

"In football there are many situations, different opponents, different circumstances," Pochettino told a news conference.

"Football is not mathematical. We weren't at the level today to win at the collective level, not just Kylian. If we have to find a responsible, it's me."

Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Marco Verratti will train ahead of Tuesday's Champions League clash with Barcelona, which Mauricio Pochettino is approaching with calm despite the weight of history on his team's shoulders.

Last season's finalists will face Barca at the Camp Nou for the first time since their collapse in the second leg of the last-16 tie between the two teams in 2017.

PSG led 4-0 from the first leg at the Parc des Princes but astonishingly lost 6-1 in the second as Barca pulled off the greatest comeback in Champions League history.

The cast of characters has changed significantly for both clubs since then. Neymar scored twice that night but is now in his fourth season with PSG, though he will miss this meeting with a groin injury.

Angel Di Maria came off the bench for the PSG in the 6-1 defeat but is also out with a thigh problem.

Verratti also featured for a side then coached by Unai Emery and, despite a hip issue, appears poised to play a part in the first leg.

"We are taking it step by step with Marco Verratti," Pochettino told a pre-match media conference. "He is going to train today [Tuesday] and it won't be a particularly demanding one as it is the day before the match.

"We have a strategy and a gameplan that, depending on who is available, will affect our decision."

History suggests having Verratti available will boost PSG's chances.

Their win percentage in the 56 Champions League games he has started since joining from Pescara in 2012 is 60.7, compared to 56 in the 25 games he has either missed or been named on the bench.

Despite their injury concerns and the mystique around the fixture, Pochettino is confident his players can write a new positive chapter in the history between PSG and Barca.

"It is an obvious target for PSG to win the Champions League. That is our responsibility," said Pochettino.

"I always feel my team is ready. The conditions are the conditions. The situation is the reality and we will try to compete at our best tomorrow.

"I am very calm. History is in the past and we are now in a different reality with different players. Whatever happened in the past is behind us and can be removed."

Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Marco Verratti said he is excited about the prospect of playing alongside Lionel Messi at the Ligue 1 champions.

Barcelona superstar Messi is out of contract at season's end and the six-time Ballon d'Or winner has been heavily linked with PSG and Premier League giants Manchester City.

As Messi's future dominates headlines, PSG star Verratti discussed his possible arrival in Paris.

"Of course, I would like to play with Messi," Italy international Verratti told Canal+.

"To have him in the squad would be something magnificent, one more thing that football would give to me.

"I would give the ball to Neymar and Messi and stay behind to just [enjoy] watching them a bit."

PSG and Barcelona will meet in the Champions League last 16, with the first leg taking place at Camp Nou on February 16.

It will be a reunion for former Barca star Neymar, who has scored six goals in 11 Ligue 1 matches this season.

Neymar - who left Barca in a world-record €222million deal in 2017 - has scored 13 goals across all competitions.

"We are not stupid, we know that he is the best player and our role is to put him in the best possible condition," Verratti said. 

"He knows that when I have the ball, I'm looking for him. He always makes movements to receive the ball well."

Mauricio Pochettino's PSG are third in Ligue 1 after 24 rounds, three points adrift of leaders Lille following Sunday's 2-0 Classique victory against Marseille.

PSG face Caen in the Coupe de France on Wednesday before welcoming Nice to the French capital in Ligue 1 action on Saturday.

Paris Saint-Germain duo Marco Verratti and Abdou Diallo have tested positive for coronavirus.

The Ligue 1 champions confirmed on Friday that the pair had returned positive PCR tests and will enter self-isolation.

They will subsequently miss Sunday's game at Lorient, with PSG looking to extend their unbeaten run under head coach Mauricio Pochettino to six games.

PSG host Nimes on Wednesday before a trip to the Stade Velodrome to take on arch-rivals Marseille.

Pochettino's men are level on points with Lille at the top of the Ligue 1 table and two clear of Lyon as the nine-time champions face a rate battle to retain the title.

 

 

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