Paris aiming high after Leverkusen stroll
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Twice on target in the 4-0 win at Bayer 04 Leverkusen, Zlatan Ibrahimović played down Paris Saint-Germain's contenders' tag, though others did not hide their ambition.
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Paris Saint-Germain's 4-0 first-leg win at Bayer 04 Leverkusen almost certainly means they are through the round of 16, even if defender Gregory van der Wiel reckoned they have "just one foot" in the quarter-finals. Two-goal Zlatan Ibrahimović was delighted with the performance and thanked his team-mates for helping him score, while Yohan Cabaye and Van der Wiel admitted that winning the UEFA Champions League is a target for Paris this term, albeit "a very difficult" one.
Zlatan Ibrahimović, Paris forward
No, it was not a very easy match for us, but we had a very good start, scored a goal after three minutes, played our game, created chances and then scored a second and a third. We had a lot of space to play in and we did well – very well.
We have to play the second leg the same way. We have a big advantage, absolutely, but we still have to be focused. Let's see what happens in the second game. It is important to start a game well, which we did. The team as a unit played a very good game. I don't want to say we are one of the favourites now. The further you proceed in a tournament, the more difficult it gets.
If the team plays well, individuals play well too. Today, I got to score goals thanks to my team-mates. We try to help each other. In the end it's not important who scores, it is important that we score and get a result.
For the second goal I got a good ball from [Blaise] Matuidi, tried to hit it and it was a good shot. I don't know if I am the best player ever to play in the French league, together with Zinédine Zidane. It's up to others to judge that. But I take it as a compliment.
Yohan Cabaye, Paris midfielder
I am delighted – the team did well, we won 4-0 and it was very important for the second leg not to concede. Today, we are happy, and I am very happy about scoring my first Champions League goal for PSG. Maxwell crossed from the left, Lucas got it and played it back for me; I then struck it with the inside of my foot. I scored a similar goal [for Newcastle United FC] against Stoke City on Boxing Day.
It is never easy to change clubs in January. I learn from my new team-mates every day and they are fantastic with me. I just want to play my kind of football and don't want to change. I want to bring my qualities to the team. I love to shoot from distance and when I am in good shape I can do good things. I will do my best to help the team.
All our players are focused on [the UEFA Champions League]. We just want to win every game and the Champions League is a target this year. Everyone is just focused on that competition. We all know it is very, very difficult – a higher level than the French league – but we are ready.
There is a long way to go, but at this stage we just have to keep playing like tonight and we will see. We have a great team and all the players want to win every competition.
Gregory van der Wiel, Paris defender
We started well and within three minutes it was 1-0. Then 2-0 and 3-0 followed and later the red card. It was a good game for us. We have one foot in the quarter-finals; just one foot. We have to focus on the second match, but we did a great job today. It's our dream to win the Champions League, but it is very difficult.
We are working hard and you never know. I know people consider us one of the favourites, but it is too early to say that. You have to be lucky in the next round, if we get there, see who we draw and how things turn out. Our philosophy is a little bit like Barcelona's – we like to keep the ball and play it around.
Blaise Matuidi, Paris midfielder
I think we played a great match. I scored as well, and now we are in a very good position to go through. We are very satisfied. We put in a great performance in what is a very difficult competition. I am very pleased, but I am also pleased with the team because we won. Everyone did the maximum to achieve this important result. We have to take it match by match and see where this season takes us.