Unai Emery has ‘better PSG side than last season’ ahead of Bayern test
Paris Saint-Germain coach Unai Emery has declared his belief that his current team are stronger than the side that was eliminated from the Champions League with by Barcelona last season.
The French giants have added the likes of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe at significant cost and the Spaniard feels that Bayern Munich are not the only ones to have improved coming into Tuesday’s showdown for top spot in Group B.
“Bayern are great in attack, even more so at home, Emery said at Allianz Arena on Monday. “Jupp [Heynckes] has added quality to this team but there are still many similarities [to the one under Carlo Ancelotti that PSG beat 3-0 in September].
“As for us, this is a better PSG side than last season. This will be a big test for us.”
Emery recognised the challenge facing him and his players in Germany but wants his team to dominate possession against the Bundesliga giants.
“We are here and we want to win,” said Emery. “We want to keep our three-point lead, even if we know that this will be difficult. The idea is to control the match with our ideas and through our dominance in possession.
“If needs be, we will have to adapt to our opponents. We did that in the first game and spent a lot of time in transition.”
Edinson Cavani currently boasts 153 goals across all competitions for PSG and the Uruguay international is closing on Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s record of 156.
However, the Uruguay international is not getting carried away by potential personal glory and is putting his teammates first instead.
“When this happens, it will be something good,” Cavani told journalists when asked about the record. “That sort of thing is important for a football player.
“However, everybody at the club knows my way of thinking and behaving. I think more about the collective than the individual. If the collective is working well, then everything else will come.
“I am working as hard as I can in order to give everything possible. If this happens, it happens. However, the most important thing is winning and being champions come the end of the season.”
Cavani is a different character to strike partners Mbappe and Neymar but is no less influential on the pitch.
El Matador is happy to differ from the French wunderkind and the Brazilian superstar but stressed that everybody has their own way of being professional.
“It is the way I am, my way of being — how I live football,” said Cavani. “I think that I have always behaved this way, throughout my career.
“Everybody has their own ways of being professional on and off the pitch. I think that my teammates are used to it. They are major players. They are like that. We must respect each other’s way of being.
“The most important thing is to all be professional on the pitch and to respect the club. Play at 100 percent and always support the team.”
After PSG touched down in Germany to face Bayern, they were drawn away at fellow Ligue 1 side Stade Rennais in the Coupe de France round of 64.
Jonathan Johnson covers PSG and the French national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @Jon_LeGossip.