Memories, memories… PSG inherited Barcelona in the quarter-finals of the Champions League. A necessarily special poster for Luis Enrique, former player and coach of the Catalan club. He notably officiated at the head of the Blaugrana team during the famous comeback of 2017. During his traditional press conference on the eve of the match, before Montpellier-PSG on Sunday (8:45 p.m., 26th day of Ligue 1), the Spanish technician therefore been questioned at length about this future opposition. The comeback, Xavi, his feelings, his ambitions… He also talked about Sunday’s match, Randal Kolo Muani’s playing time and Achraf Hakimi’s form.

The C1 draw, with Barcelona in the quarters and the winner of Atlético-Dortmund in a potential half: “We were lucky because we are going back to Spain and you know very well that we Spaniards love our country very much. I am returning to Barcelona, ​​a city in which I spent most of my sporting career and in which I feel very good. That’s very good news. As for the competition, we knew that the draw would pit us against a very high level team, a very difficult team, with great individual qualities. There are two very different parts of the table. In the one where we find ourselves, with Barça, Atlético Madrid and Dortmund, the four teams have their chances of reaching the final. It is very beautiful. It still needs to be demonstrated on the ground. In the other part, there are the favorites, Real Madrid, the defending champion Manchester City, Bayern and Arsenal. This part of the table is perhaps more difficult to predict, while on the other side all four teams have chances. It’s an interesting draw, it’s always the case in the Champions League.”

The pressure around the C1 in Paris: “How to manage it? As I have done so far, it will be the same message. I want the supporters to be enthusiastic and to help us in every match, especially when we concede a goal or the opposing team does a good deed. They protect us, support us. We want them to experience every match with the same passion. For our part, we continue with the same message.

The comeback in 2017: “The strongest moment of my career? No, because it was of no use, unfortunately. This comeback did not help us win the C1, we were eliminated by Juventus. It is true that this match was special. Not the most important of my career as a coach. Everyone remembers the comeback, but for it to happen, there was a first match, PSG won 4-0 at the Parc des Princes. And you know how the coach was treated in the media… It’s normal, I understand. People only talk to me about the comeback but three weeks before, we were between life and death! The culprits were the coach and the staff. And everything changed after the comeback. But I remember the 4-0, I remember it very well. I also remember the 6-1… It’s part of the story. I am very proud of everything I have done during my career, as a player, at Gijon, at Real, at Barça… I wouldn’t change anything. Ditto for my years as a coach. I could certainly have done better, but since I gave my best, as always… Now, the present is a little capricious by offering us a duel against FC Barcelona and I will be on the bench. I will try to give my best so that PSG passes this round. And all the others.”

Randal Kolo Muani’s playing time and Didier Deschamps’ words on Thursday: “He played 1600 minutes of competition at the highest level in his first season, in a situation and facing competition that he has never experienced before . I’m very happy with him, I love him. He plays inside, on the sides… I know how to use him. I invite him to give his all when he plays. (he corrects himself) Actually, no need to invite him, he always does. Same thing in training. And he will progress further, this is valid for all players. Do you know how many minutes Randal Kolo Muani and Gonçalo Ramos get? 1600 and 1500. Gonçalo is always ready, I call him to come in and in 15 seconds he is there. That’s what we want, and what the fans want: for them to be ready, to run, to fight and to play football, which they do very well. As for Didier Deschamps, I’m not going to answer him because there was a but in your question, and when there is a but, what comes before doesn’t count (smile).” (Deschamps joked by asking for “a little more playing time” for RKM, Editor’s note)

The lead in the championship and the management of the group: “We remain with three draws in the championship but that does not worry me. We had very important matches in other competitions, in the Coupe de France and the Champions League. We were also very good in Monaco (0-0 on March 1). We’re not too concerned about the gap at the top of the championship, we want to win the title as soon as possible. Tomorrow (Sunday), it’s a real challenge to play in Montpellier. We want to be in a position to win all the titles and tomorrow, we want to win the match. It will be difficult. The MHSC is supported by its supporters at home, there will be intensity. It will be difficult. But our goal gives us a lot of ambition.”

The role of outsider in the Champions League: “It’s very good that everyone talks about favorites or not. But as far as I’m concerned, all that doesn’t matter to me. We still have a lot of room for improvement. We will improve just by the experience that the players will gain. We have the same ambition as at the start of the season, to continue with our ideas so that our supporters are proud of us. They will see a team that will struggle, fight. We play the same way at home or away. We are not going to do any calculations. If we have to beat ourselves, we will accept it, we will take our hat off, but our objective is to be ambitious, that requires daily work. This is the message received by the players since the start of the season, they have integrated this message. And because of this, I can put anyone on the field tomorrow, they will be ready. For me, this is our greatest quality.”

Xavi, Barça coach: “I know a lot less about his job as a coach than he does about mine, I’ve been doing it longer. We all know his experience as a player. I would have liked him to coach me, whether it was Xavi, Mikel Arteta or Pep Guardiola, others too. It would have been a great opportunity to see their method. But when you are at Barça and you have had the playing career that he had, if you are given this opportunity to coach, it is because you have the level and you are ready. Besides, he won the Spanish championship (last season). Barça is great in terms of individual talent, that’s obvious. It will be very difficult. It is a historic club, with five coronations it is the third most successful in the Champions League (fifth in fact, behind Real, Bayern, Liverpool and Milan, Editor’s note). They know what they’re playing at! We didn’t win the C1 but we have a lot of ambition to win the first one. We obviously don’t know if we’re going to win it. This is our goal, our ambition. No one will have more ambition than us. Maybe I’m wrong, but that’s what I think.”

Achraf Hakimi less well since the CAN: “I don’t agree. He has been very consistent since the start of the season. He is a player who has unique potential. I have a habit of demanding more from the best players in my squad. I try not to lionize the best. I am demanding, and even more so with the best. The less good ones, but here they are all good, I must love them more, protect them more. For Hakimi, he is having a very high level season. If he didn’t play at certain times, he knows why. He is very intelligent. I told him. I am very happy. He came back with the same energy. In attack, he has a unique potential, which few players have in his right-back position, if not none. He can improve, he knows in what areas, and he will do it. Otherwise, he knows what will happen to him (smile). I’m very happy with him.”

Preparation before Montpellier: “The same as before each match, we train as much as possible, the players are concentrated, we talked about Montpellier, their team, their game, the problems they will pose to us… We don’t want to not do calculations, we want to dominate and have ambition to widen the gap in the championship and win the title as quickly as possible.

Comments collected at a press conference