It will not be a cakewalk for PSG this Wednesday evening at St James Park. As he prepares to challenge a Newcastle team in good form, Luis Enrique remains cautious and reminds us that this meeting will have to be taken very seriously to achieve a second success in as many matches in the competition.
What do you fear in Newcastle?
LUIS ENRIQUE. It is obvious that Newcastle are the fourth hat team that no one wanted to draw, they are a very high level team who know how to produce very high pressure without the ball and who play very well with the ball. They have a full squad, we are going to play here at St James Park, in a very big atmosphere. We will have to face tomorrow. In the Champions League, all teams, including Newcastle, can reach the very highest level. Nobody wanted this team in their group because we saw last season that they were very successful. Especially here, in this stadium at St James Park, where they will be pushed by the fans. I am almost jealous of my players that they have this chance to play in such conditions, with such an atmosphere.
How do you judge the integration of Ousmane Dembélé into your collective?
He has extraordinary talent. So far he has been very good, he is a player capable of playing on both wings and also in the middle. For the moment, he has played on the right, he is a player who creates a lot of danger for the opponent, he is very fast. I think he will allow us to score a lot of goals and make assists. This is a good start and can still improve.
You lost in this stadium as a player during the 1997-1998 season with Barcelona. What memory do you have of this defeat?
It was a big “boom” that day. The atmosphere was really great, they had very strong players. We lost 3-2, I remember, I scored but it was a very difficult evening.
Is Kylian Mbappé at 100% of his abilities?
How can we explain that Manuel Ugarte and Warren Zaire-Emery, both of whom moved to Clermont, are already so important in your team?
It is above all a collective work. Not all players can play every match, it’s impossible. It’s easy to say that Ugarte should have played but everyone has to do their job and I, as coach, decide on the eleven players on the pitch. But I’m not just waiting for eleven players, it’s the 23 who travel with the team (Editor’s note: there are 19 in Newcastle) who must bring something extra and influence the result of the match.
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