Pedri talks Cubarsi, Christensen, Gundogan, Mbappe, Dembele ahead of Barcelona vs PSG


SANT JOAN DESPI, SPAIN - APRIL 15: Pedri of FC Barcelona faces the media during a press conference ahead of their UEFA Champions league Quarter Final 2nd leg match against Paris Saint Germain at Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper on April 15, 2024 in Sant Joan Despi, Spain.
Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

FC Barcelona have one of their most important games approaching them in a day’s time as they prepare to face Paris Saint Germain in the second leg of the UEFA Champions League quarter-final tie at Montjuic this Tuesday.

The Catalans will go into this game with a one-goal advantage from the first leg, where Raphinha’s two goals and another from Christensen were able to hand Barcelona a victory in Paris.

But this one-goal lead is quite tender, especially keeping in view that away goals do not count any longer in the Champions League. Thus, Xavi will have to go into this match with his strongest lineup to get the required result.

Pedri, who has only recently returned from an injury, will be looking to start his first match in a month and a half, and is expected to play a key role for his team in this match. In addition to this role in the match, the midfielder also had an important off-field responsibility as he talked to the press along with Xavi.

The midfielder talked about different aspects of the upcoming match including the best approach for this game, suspensions for Barcelona, and key threats from PSG.

The midfielder began his presser with comments on how he himself and his teammates are looking forward to the game against PSG:

“The team is eager and excited to face such an important match as the one we have tomorrow. I’ve been through a rough patch personally, but I’m really looking forward to tomorrow’s game.”

While he has been plagued with injuries for the last few months, Pedri was adamant that these physical setbacks were not going to impact his mentality:

“I’m fortunate that when I step onto the field, I don’t think about the injuries I’ve had. I’m giving my all and feeling as good as I can. The desire and enthusiasm make up for everything else.”

Talking about his future at the club, the player insisted he was calm about his situation: “I’m very calm, and I know that Barça will stick to what we’ve discussed.”

Pedri understood that the upcoming match could turn out to be a very important one for Barcelona, and he has been waiting for such games:

“It could be the most important, like the Euro Cup semi-finals. I’ve been thinking for a long time about providing these nights at Barcelona.”

The midfielder agreed with some of Xavi’s comments in which he had claimed that the team’s good form had a lot to do with his announcement of the decision to leave the club at the end of the season:

“The announcement by Xavi must have had some influence. We have a very long streak and we have improved in keeping clean sheets and being solid at the back. This makes a difference.”

Pedri was glad that his team had not missed him, or his other midfield colleagues, too much when they were unavailable:

“Despite not being with the team for long, like Frenkie or Andreas, the team has stayed strong. We have a very complete squad, and what matters most is to stay united, especially when injuries pile up.”

The former Golden Boy winner was not too keen on picking up a favorite for this Champions League tie:

“It’s true that everyone likes to talk about favoritism. I think we are two evenly matched-teams, and it’s going to be an exciting game for the spectators. We’ll try to do our best to win it.”

The youngster was full of praise for one of his midfield partners:

“Gündo is a spectacular player. Since I coincided with him in the preseason, I saw it. It’s a pleasure to play with him, and I learn a lot from him in training. He has some spectacular stats.”

Pedri is expected to play higher up in the midfield in this match, and the player opened up on his preferred position on the pitch:

“Those are two positions where I feel comfortable. In the midfield, you touch the ball more and have more involvement, while upfront, you’re more focused on the final pass and finishing. I like both, and I try to do my best in both roles.”

The Barcelona midfielder was wary of the danger being posed by PSG despite the advantage being enjoyed by his team:

“We need to be cautious because PSG is coming at us with everything. They’re going to try to turn it around, and it’s true that we have this advantage, but we have to go out and devour PSG.”

Like some other players before him, Pedri was also quick to point out the improvement in Barcelona’s mentality in the last few months:

“Yes, it’s a mental improvement. When they scored against us, we used to spend 10-15 minutes doubting ourselves. We’re young, and it’s something we’ll improve with time. In Paris, we turned it around, and we have a lot of credit for what we did.”

The midfielder shared that he did not need a psychologist to deal with the trauma of injuries: “It’s something I haven’t needed (a psychologist). With the coaches, we’ve done a spectacular job.”

The midfielder also had a message for the fans and assured them that the team will give its everything in this match:

“We face it with a lot of excitement and desire. We want to give joy to the fans. I would tell them to be with us, that we will go out and give our all.”

Pedri was confident that he has recovered enough physically to play a significant role in this match:

“I feel strong, and I always want to play these games. I’ll give it my all on the field until I can’t anymore. Then I’ll ask for a change if needed.”

The youngster also shared the message that Laporta had conveyed to the team:

“He told us to give it our all and to go into the match with a lot of enthusiasm. The president conveyed that to us.”

The midfielder was the latest to speak highly of the young defender Pau Cubarsi, who has been impressing everyone with his performances lately:

“I love it. A center-back who can play so many passes is a joy for the team. At 17 years old, I hadn’t seen a center-back with those characteristics. In duels, it’s hard to see him lose one. He’s a great person, and I have a lot of fun with him.”

Christensen and Roberto are suspended for this match, but Pedri hoped their absences will not be felt too much by Barcelona:

“Andreas and Sergi helped us a lot. I’m going to come out intense, to win every duel. Hopefully, the absences won’t be noticeable.”

The midfielder was also full of sympathy for his colleagues Balde and Gavi, who are recovering from some long-term injuries:

“In long-term injuries like Balde’s and Gavi’s, it’s complicated. It hurts me to the core, because I know what he’s feeling. Of course, this one’s for him and for the injured players.”

Pedri also shared his ideas on how the game should be approached, especially keeping in view the dangerous PSG attackers:

“You have to possess the ball and prioritize not conceding chances. Not just Kylian, but also Ous [ Dembele ] or Barcola. We have to try to make up for the advantages they have in one-on-one situations.”

“It’s going to be an intense match, and they’re going to press us high. Both teams will fight for possession. It’s challenging to compensate when the other team plays well. Whoever has the ball will control the game.”

The midfielder was ecstatic with how the first leg had turned out for his team:

“It’s a match that stays engraved in your mind. I couldn’t believe how it unfolded. These are the kind of matches that stick with you, and hopefully, we can give Culés another reason to celebrate.”

Source: Mundo Deportivo

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