Defender Patrice Evra has called for an explosive performance from AS Monaco FC against PSV Eindhoven in the UEFA Champions League tonight.
Full of confidence
PSV travel to the Stade Louis II with a 1-0 first-leg lead and are full of confidence having established a four-point cushion at the top of the Eredivisie. But Evra believes that last season's Champions League finalists have what is takes to unsettle Guus Hiddink's side. "They're a solid team but they're not that quick," the French international told uefa.com. "We've got fast players and if we play in an intelligent way we could do some damage."
An eighth-minute goal from Brazilian defender Alex a fortnight ago is all that divides the teams at the halfway stage. But while Monaco succeeded in containing PSV after that early setback, Evra was disappointed that they failed to impose their usual attacking style. "We fell into a trap," he said. "We started bombarding them with long balls which was foolish because they're a big physical team and they coped easily."
'An explosive performance'
The 23-year-old is now hoping for a more controlled display in the return. "We're at our most dangerous when we keep the ball on the ground and play quick passes," the left-back explained. "We don't have any choice now - we have to go for it. We need to use our pace and put in an explosive performance."
Evra is one of Monaco's quickest players and coach Didier Deschamps could be tempted to push him into midfield to exploit potential weaknesses in the PSV back line. The former OGC Nice player has operated in midfield several times this season, excelling in the role against RC Deportivo La Coruña in September. "I don't know what position I'll be playing," Evra said.
"It's up to the coach to decide where he thinks I'll be most effective. Frankly, I don't care where I play." Nevertheless Evra, who has earned a reputation as one of the most exciting full-backs in Europe, admits to feeling more comfortable in defence. "I've been playing left-back for the last four years and it's my natural position. But I'm happy to help out in midfield."
Monaco's form going into the Round of 16 tie is indifferent. They lost in Ligue 1 for the first time in over three months against Nice last week, and could only muster a goalless draw at home to FC Metz on Saturday. "It's not the best way to prepare for the PSV game," Evra said. "But there's no point talking about what has already happened. Things aren't going well in France so we have to focus our attentions on the Champions League."
'Fight until the end'
Deschamps' team are fourth in the table, having fallen eleven points behind leaders Olympique Lyonnais. As a result, they have been forced to alter their objectives. "I'll fight until the very end but everyone knows it's going to be hard to finish above Lyon. The most important thing is to make sure we finish in the top three and qualify for next season's Champions League," Evra said.
'Two brilliant halves'
With several key players quitting Monaco last summer, Evra is not surprised the team have struggled for consistency. "It was always going to take time to gel," he continued. "But it's been frustrating because we seem to play one brilliant half, then follow it with a rubbish one. Against PSV, we need to produce two brilliant halves."
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