Marco Verratti sat down for a press conference on Tuesday from the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, where the shock will take place Wednesday night between PSG and Manchester City in the Champions League. Before this poster, the Italian midfielder sweeps the “rumors” around his coach Mauricio Pochettino and presents the dangers of the team coached by Pep Guardiola.
How do you apprehend this meeting with the absence of Kevin De Bruyne?
Marco Verratti. You are never happy if the players are injured. It’s a great team. It will be a very nice game for the supporters. In City, danger comes from all sides. At the Parc, it was already a great match. We all suffered together. The key is to manage possession well and defend well when you don’t have the ball.
How do you feel after your injury? And are you aiming for first place in the group?
I feel better. I received a big blow. I don’t feel anything anymore. Our goal is to qualify for the round of 16 and if we can be first, so much the better. We’re going to try to play a big game, to be a great team. It is not the most important (to be first) but we will do the maximum.
What do you think of Sergio Ramos’ return to the group?
Sergio Ramos does not need an introduction. He has achieved great things at Real Madrid for many years. He has a lot of personality, he understands the game well. He is dangerous in attack, he defends well. It is very comprehensive. We are happy that he can be in the group. It’s nice to share training with him. He can help us.
Is it difficult to have Messi, Mbappé or Neymar defend, to ask them to fall back?
These players have different characteristics. It’s not difficult but they have a way of playing offensively. Defense is a team matter, not an individual one. The more you play together, the less danger can happen. We want to try to have the ball as much as possible on our side. It is also a way of defending. This game can give us a lot of confidence. We know we can be good with the ball. If it’s 55-45% possession in their favor but we win 2-0, I’d be the happiest.
Do you like to be under the opposing pressure and bring out the balls?
It’s my way of playing. It’s better when someone rushes me because I know I can find a free player. Sometimes it costs me because you can’t always find the free player. But it’s up to us to do it. We know that Manchester City is pressing very hard. If you play with a lot of personalities, you can find the spaces.
What do you think of the association of the Messi-Mbappé-Neymar trio?
They will still want to improve. They haven’t played much together yet. There are a lot of dangerous actions. Over time, it will get even better. It’s a pleasure to have them in training and in matches.
Is the locker room disturbed by rumors?
We’ve been used to this since the start of our career. These are rumors. We’re here to focus on tomorrow night’s game. This is our only concern. We don’t think about the rest, about what is being said outside.