The Barcelona coach praised the Swedish forward but belives his side can defend as a unit and nullify Zlatan’s threat tonight.
Barcelona coach Luis Enrique has admitted that PSG will be a bigger threat tonight with the return of Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the starting lineup. The two sides battle it out in the final group game to determine who will finish top of the pool, with the French champions currently sitting a point above the Catalans thanks to a 3-2 win in the corresponding fixture earlier this season. Ibrahimovic missed that clash with an injury but is fit to face his former side after scoring a brace against Nantes on Saturday.
Luis Enrique has admitted that although PSG showed against Barca that they are a very strong team without their talisman, they will be an even bigger challenge this time around with him available.
“PSG beat us without Ibra. They are a potent side and with Ibra back fit, they will be even more dangerous,” he admitted in his press conference ahead of the meeting in Camp Nou.
“The idea is go out and do what we do in any game, go out to win” he said. “We’re playing against one of the candidates to win the title and they are such a top quality side that we’ll need to produce our best both in attack and defence.”
“We made mistakes over there – like we have done in other games but in Paris we were punished. We’re talking about one of the top players, a high-level footballer who is very difficult to stop.”
“If we are able to defend as a unit and make sure very few balls get to him, that’s the only way we can reduce his chances of hurting us.”
“I’m expecting a similar game to the one we saw in France. We need to control play and maintain pressure higher up the pitch – something we didn’t do over there.”
“I think Cavani and Ibra will start. We want to avoid being caught on the break and to do that we need equilibrium. Theory is all well and good but it’s completely different when you put it into practice. We need to be careful when PSG attack.”
The game will determine who finishes top of the group, which would obviously be an advantage for Luis Enrique but he doesn’t think it matters as much as some people are making out.”It’s not an impossible disadvantage that means you’re out of it” he explained.”You can come second in your group and still qualify for the next round. I would prefer to finish first, but finishing second is not a great disadvantage. Its importance is relative.”
But games like this are always going to be that little bit more special.”You hear the Champions League music play and you know what an attractive competition it is” he said. “But I don’t think it’s the most important game of the season. I hope the biggest games are yet to come.”
The coach then said he wants to see more from his star forwards Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez.”Messi has been with us a while, Neymar not quite as long and Luis Suarez joined only recently. They need to improve their figures and continue working; the more options we have in attack the better.”
Dani Alves is suspended, but the Asturian wasn’t letting on about his replacement.”I have a lot of options” he said. “I just hope that what I decide to do comes as a surprise to Laurent Blanc.”
Probable Starting Line-up (4-3-3): Ter Stegen(GK); Adriano, Javier Mascherano, Jeremy Mathieu, Jordi Alba; Andres Iniesta, Ivan Rakitic, Sergio Busquetes; Luis Suarez, Lionel Messi, Neymar