Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Marco Verratti says the French giants must be at 100 per cent to seal Champions League qualification against Real Madrid on Wednesday.
The Ligue 1 leaders head to the Santiago Bernabeu with a 1-0 first leg lead after Kylian Mbappe’s superb late winner at the Parc des Princes as they bid for a first ever European crown.
Madrid failed to register a single shot on target in Paris, just the second time they have done so in the Champions League since 2003-04, with the other occasion also coming against PSG in September 2019.
But Verratti has urged his team-mates to forget about their first leg triumph and says PSG will come unstuck if they perform at anything less than 100 per cent.
“I don’t think we can think about the first leg and the result too much”, the Italy international said. “It’s like we played the first half and we’ve still got the second half to play.
“We’ve got a slight advantage but that doesn’t mean anything. We can’t just look to defend, especially because that’s not our style of play. We don’t know how to do that.
“We’ll need to try and play our game and be at 100 per cent, whether it’s mentally or technically.
“We need to do our best to put in a big performance because against Madrid, 80 per cent won’t be enough.
“They won’t give us anything for free. We’ll need to earn qualification and [we will] go there to win.”
PSG are looking to avoid an all-too familiar Champions League collapse when they visit Spain. They have been eliminated from three of their eight Champions League knockout ties after winning the first leg. Only Barcelona (four times) and Real Madrid (six times) have been eliminated in this fashion more often.
Verratti featured in their Champions League final loss to Bayern Munich in 2020 as well as a series of other European near-misses, and remains determined to bring continental success to the club that he joined in 2012.
“I’m in love with this club,” the midfielder said. “I have grown up with the club, I have been here for 10 years. It’s a special team, special in every way.
“It’s a team that I know will one day do even more than it does today, and that it will be even more incredible.
“We know that there are other teams who have the same goal as us, but we are getting closer. We have made a final and a semi-final in two consecutive years, and it’s not easy to achieve in this competition where you always play great teams.
“But we have to try and give it our all. We need to be at 100 per cent, then we can leave the pitch with our heads held high.”Follow us on Social Media