Paris: With his team in danger of missing out on a top-four finish in the Premier League, Manuel Pellegrini's best chance of leaving an indelible mark at Manchester City is to win the Champions League.
City's domestic campaign has been badly damaged over the past two months by three home losses that left Pellegrini's team only one point above city rival Manchester United. Those defeats followed City's announcement that Pep Guardiola would replace the Chilean manager at the end of the season.
Pellegrini took the blow, but he soldiered on, leading City to its maiden Champions League quarterfinals. City now travels to Paris Saint-Germain in a matchup between newly rich clubs that are looking to finally break through in Europe's top competition.
"We're full of hope and full of desire and we can't wait for the games to come around," Manchester City winger Jesus Navas said. "It's really nice to be part of this experience and part of this team that has achieved it. It's all about going step by step, and with a good performance in this round, who knows where we can get to."
City showed greater maturity on the European front this season and prepared for the trip to the Parc des Princes with a 4-0 win over Bournemouth. But it travels to the French capital missing its experienced backbone, with Vincent Kompany and Yaya Toure set to be out.
"We've had so many injured this season," Pellegrini said. "One of the merits of this squad having so many injuries this season, is that this is the last English team in the Champions League."
Like City, PSG is also desperate to win the Champions League, the main goal set by its wealthy Qatari owners. But since they took over in 2011, Laurent Blanc's team has failed to advance past the quarterfinals, having lost to Barcelona twice and Chelsea in 2014.
Here are some things to know about Wednesday's match:
PSG's form this season has been impressive, but it left Manchester City midfielder Samir Nasri unimpressed.
Reflecting on PSG's dominance in French league, Nasri said the already crowned champions would be facing a far bigger challenge if they played in the Premier League.
"It's true they have a big team, but I do not think they are above the others in England," Nasri told L'Equipe newspaper.
PSG sealed a fourth straight league title with a record eight games left and currently holds a 25-point lead over second-place Monaco.
"There are no easy games in England, not one," Nasri said. "I'd like to see Paris play a Monday night at Stoke, West Ham or at the Emirates against Arsenal. Today, the big four is no more. There are six or seven teams who can be champions. It's harder."
IBRAHIMOVIC ON FIRE
PSG will be without midfielder Marco Verratti, but it can count on the in-form Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
With his contract expiring at the end of the season and his professional future still unclear, the Sweden international looks as motivated as ever.
Ibrahimovic scored a hat trick on Saturday that helped him join Pedro Pauleta as the club's all-time best scorer at the Parc des Princes. He took his league tally for the season to 30 and has now scored 144 goals in 170 matches with PSG.
"The team is doing magical things this season and I'm just following them," Ibrahimovic said. "They play well, so I play well."
Pellegrini will be able to start his first-choice goalkeeper after Joe Hart shook off a calf injury and trained with his teammates on Tuesday.
The England international has been out since getting injured against Manchester United on March 20.
"Hart has worked without any problem in the last day," Pellegrini told journalists at the Parc des Princes. "He has had medical and physical tests and has no problems to play."
Midfielder Fabian Delph, sidelined with an Achilles injury since early February, also took part in the training session.
Published Date: Apr 06, 2016 05:01 pm | Updated Date: Apr 06, 2016 05:01 pm