Ancelotti plays down impact of Messi injury

09 April 2013 06:17

Paris Saint-Germain coach Carlo Ancelotti has claimed that his side's tactics for their Champions League quarter-final, second leg, against Barcelona on Wednesday will not be affected by whether Lionel Messi is fit to start for the hosts.

The World Player of the Year is a doubt for the game with a hamstring injury that forced him to miss the second-half of the first leg, which finished 2-2 at the Parc des Princes last Tuesday.

And with PSG needing to score to have any chance of progressing, Ancelotti insisted the Argentine's inclusion was not a determinative factor in how we will prepare his game-plan.

"It will not affect our play if Messi plays or not. We will play our own game," he said at Tuesday's eve-of-game press conference.

"We are going to have to use our qualities, be solid at the back, have patience and attack well."

The French league leaders have injury problems of their own with Thiago Silva and Thiago Motta set to undergo late fitness tests, whilst Blaise Matuidi, who scored the Parisians' second goal last week, is suspended.

"With respect to Thiago Silva we need to wait and see the final training session. If there are guarantees he is fit, he will play," added Ancelotti.

"The decision on whether Motta will play will be taken at the last minute. The season doesn't finish tomorrow and there are more games to consider."

However, Ancelotti insisted that criticism from the French press over David Beckham's performance in the first leg would not influence his decision over whether to once again start the 37-year-old former Real Madrid man at the Camp Nou.

"Some criticised him and some were happy with him. It doesn't matter because I was happy with Beckham and thought he played a good game."

The visitors will at least have a number of players in familiar surroundings on Wednesday night as Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Motta and Maxwell all return to face their former club, and the latter was more open about his feelings on how much difference Messi's absence would make.

"Barcelona have a great squad but there is nobody that can substitute his level," said the Brazilian.

"I am not happy if anyone is injured, but it is a fact that Messi is a player that cannot be replaced."

The Brazilian though did reaffirm his manager's words on the discipline PSG will need if they are to cause a major surprise.

"The first leg left us with options coming to the Camp Nou, although we know it will be difficult.

"We need to have a lot of courage and personality. Barcelona will control almost the entire game in terms of possession. We need to be patient and be aggressive to attack with force."

Source: AFP