Barcelona Boss Explains Decision to Switch Formation For UCL Tie

Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann


Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman explained his decision to switch his formation ahead of kick-off against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League on Wednesday.

The Dutchman has opted for a 3-4-3 set-up against the French champions for the second leg of the last-16 tie. Barca trails 4-1 from the first leg and needs a big comeback to progress to the quarter-finals.

Koeman spoke to RMC Sport about the reasons behind his change in system and shared his thoughts on his team selection, as reported by Get French Football News.

“We have made a change because we think that it was good for the team to have an additional player in the center of the defense,” he said. “We are changing the system. All teams need to know how to play in several systems. But you will see what we love: to dominate the match.”

Koeman is without center-backs Gerard Pique and Ronald Araujo for the match due to injury so has dropped midfielder Frenkie de Jong into a three-man backline alongside Clement Lenglet and Oscar Mingueza. The decision means Samuel Umtiti starts on the bench.

Sergino Dest and Jordi Alba will play as wing-backs with Pedri and Sergio Busquets in midfield, while Antoine Griezmann starts in attack alongside Lionel Messi and Ousmane Dembele.

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Pochettino Talks PSG Team

Koeman’s opposite number Mauricio Pochettino has also made changes to his team for the match. The Argentine is without Neymar due to injury and Moise Kean because of Covid-19, meaning Julian Draxler gets the nod ahead of fit-again Angel Di Maria.

Pochettino told RMC Sport the 27-year-old is in good form and urged his team to “send a message” with their performance against the Catalan giants, as reported by Get French Football News.

“I am expecting the same performance from my players (as in the 1st leg, 4-1). In Champions’ League matches it plays on nothing. Sometimes, sometimes you are close to winning, sometimes you are not,” he explained. “It is important to have competitiveness at the forefront of what we do to be as strong as possible. I am very happy with Julian Draxler’s form at the moment. We still need a bit of time for Angel di Maria. Tonight, we need to be as competitive as possible to send a message.”

PSG Fans Try To Disrupt Barca

Barca heads into the match after a night in Paris where supporters tried their best to disrupt the team. Supporters set off fireworks close to Barca’s team hotel in the early hours of the morning.

Newly-elected Barcelona president Joan Laporta has traveled with the squad to France for the game and had a message of support for the players ahead of kick-off. The 58-year-old posted a picture on Instagram with the caption: “Let our players feel the heat and support of every Barca fan. Because we are more than a club! Long live Barca!”

Barca’s heavy first-leg defeat means PSG is expected to progress to the quarter-finals, although the Catalans’ famous comeback against the French side in 2017 does offer the club hope the tie is not over just yet.

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