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Vilanova back for Barça's PSG assignment

Published: Monday 1 April 2013, 20.07CET
Tito Vilanova enters the FC Barcelona dugout for the first time in two months for a quarter-final with Paris Saint-Germain FC which Carlo Ancelotti has a "good feeling about".
by Aurélien Sagner
from Paris

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Tournament statistics

ParisBarcelona

Goals scored20
 
18
on target76
 
102
off target48
 
74
Corners45
 
74
Offsides44
 
26
Fouls committed132
 
110
Yellow cards22
 
25
Red Cards1
 
1
 
Published: Monday 1 April 2013, 20.07CET

Vilanova back for Barça's PSG assignment

Tito Vilanova enters the FC Barcelona dugout for the first time in two months for a quarter-final with Paris Saint-Germain FC which Carlo Ancelotti has a "good feeling about".

Head coach Tito Vilanova's return to the FC Barcelona bench after two months receiving cancer treatment in New York and Paris Saint-Germain FC's Zlatan Ibrahimović facing his old club are two notable sub-plots in a fascinating-looking UEFA Champions League quarter-final. The Spanish Liga leaders may need their full attacking arsenal if they are to seize the first-leg advantage on Tuesday, given their Ligue 1 counterparts – unbeaten in 23 European home games – have turned the Parc des Princes into veritable fortress.

PSG
Carlo Ancelotti, coach
I have a good feeling about this match, just like before the Valencia tie. What we're doing in this competition is very good. It's most probably going to be our hardest match of the season, but probably the most important one too. We may not have much ball possession, but it's up to us to exploit the ball well when we do have it.

It's very hard to block a player like Zlatan Ibrahimović or Lionel Messi. We can't focus on the opposition's players, but rather on our own assets. Our tactical approach will not change because of their lineup. Recently, we have defended well, played well on the break and played well when having only some possession.

Weekend result
Friday: PSG 1-0 Montpellier Hérault SC (Gameiro 80)
Sirigu; Van der Wiel, Alex, Thiago Silva, Maxwell; Matuidi, Verratti (Beckham 71); Chantôme (Gameiro 71), Pastore; Ibrahimović, Ménez (Jallet 86).

• Ligue 1 leaders PSG have now gone 13 games unbeaten at home in all competitions, including 11 wins, since a 2-1 defeat by Stade Rennais FC on 17 November. Kévin Gameiro's goal against Montpellier was his first in the league since 21 December. The striker has scored in six matches in 2012/13; PSG have won them all.

Team news
Ibrahimović is available after his two-game suspension was reduced to a single-match ban. Carlo Ancelotti's hopes of recovering Thiago Motta from a groin complaint have proved premature, yet Lucas is back from injury and Ezequiel Lavezzi also rejoins the squad after being rested at the weekend.

Barcelona
Jordi Roura, assistant coach
It's very important for us to be involved at this stage of the competition, so we're very happy to be here in Paris. They're a great team with great players, such as [Javier] Pastore and [Ezequiel] Lavezzi. We'll have to be at 100% if we want to win.

They are quick on the break and strong in the air, especially with Zlatan Ibrahimović and Thiago Silva, but those are just two of their options: they have a lot more tricks in their bag. We'll have to adapt a bit, of course, but we won't change the way we play, although we have studied their game carefully.

Jordi Alba and Xavi Hernández had knocks but their situation is improving. They were rested at the weekend and we'll make a decision tomorrow after the last training session. Tito Vilanova will be on the bench tomorrow, no doubt: he's the boss and we're delighted to have him back with us.

Weekend result
Saturday: RC Celta de Vigo 2-2 FC Barcelona (Nacho Insa 38, Oubiña 88; Tello 43, Messi 73)
Pinto; Alves, Bartra, Piqué, Montoya; Thiago (Iniesta 65), Song, Fàbregas (Busquets 84), Tello, Alexis (Villa 68); Messi.

• Barcelona's three-game winning streak came to an end, but they maintained their 13-point lead at the top of the Liga nonetheless. With his second-half strike in Vigo, Messi has now netted in 19 successive top-flight matches; he also became the first player to score against every other Liga side consecutively.

Team news
Xavi Hernández and Jordi Alba (both hamstring) missed out at the weekend but have been declared fit to travel to Paris. Goalkeeper Víctor Valdés is available after being suspended for the Celta trip, yet the injured Carles Puyol (knee) and Adriano (hamstring) have remained in the Catalan capital.

Match fact
• PSG have a 23-game unbeaten home run in Europe stretching back to a 4-2 reverse against Hapoel Tel-Aviv FC in the UEFA Cup group stage in November 2006. They had won seven in a row at the Parc des Princes prior to the 1-1 draw with Valencia CF which secured a 3-2 aggregate success in the round of 16.

Last updated: 02/04/13 12.28CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/season=2013/matches/round=2000349/match=2009602/prematch/preview/index.html#vilanova+back+psg+ready

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