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Preview: Paris v APOEL

Both coaches agree the first 10–15 minutes will be vital when Paris Saint-Germain host an APOEL FC side who pushed them all the way in Nicosia a fortnight ago.

Paris train on the eve of the game
Paris train on the eve of the game ©AFP/Getty Images

Laurent Blanc wary, saying: "APOEL cause a lot of teams problems"
Paris's coach hopes an early goal can unsettle the visitors
Marco Verratti ruled out; Adrien Rabiot gets first call in competition
APOEL need win to make sure they are still in contention for last 16
Giorgos Donis says APOEL merit more than their one point to date

Possible lineups
Paris: Sirigu; Maxwell, Thiago Silva, David Luiz, Van der Wiel; Cabaye, Matuidi, Thiago Motta; Lucas/Pastore, Cavani, Lavezzi.
Out: Ibrahimović (heel), Verratti (adductor)

APOEL: Pardo; Mário Sérgio, Carlão, João Guilherme, Riise; Efrem, Nuno Morais, Vinicius, Alexandrou; De Vincenti; Sheridan.
Out: Charalambides (foot), Papafotis (unspecified)
Doubtful: Aloneftis (back), Antoniades (shoulder), Tiago Gomes (calf), Kaká (adductors), Riise (foot), Manduca (adductors)

Laurent Blanc, Paris coach
Our main objective is to win – we need those three points, especially at home. We don't know what will happen between Ajax and Barcelona, so we need to focus on our game. We got a very good result in Nicosia, so now we need to confirm it at home. If we don't score early, we'll have problems against this team. But we can really hurt them and that's what we'll try to do – we've been working on it.

[Zlatan] Ibrahimović is not available. He's not very far from being back, but he's not quite there yet. It has been seven weeks now, but I can tell you he's been working very hard, so he hasn't lost a lot in terms of fitness.

APOEL were in high spirits on Tuesday evening
APOEL were in high spirits on Tuesday evening©AFP/Getty Images

We are the first ones to acknowledge when we didn't play well [against FC Lorient] at the weekend; our first-half display was very, very poor. But the Champions League is a different competition, with very few matches to gain the necessary points to qualify. We'll need to be focused because APOEL cause a lot of teams problems – even Barcelona, who only beat them 1-0, despite all their talented players.

Giorgos Donis, APOEL coach
We are really enjoying our Champions League experience, playing against top clubs like Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain, Ajax. But so far the results haven't been so positive. We deserved more from our three matches. Paris are one of the best clubs in the world, so we probably won't create many chances. We had a big one in Nicosia but didn't convert it.

Playing Paris, Barcelona or Ajax, that's another level to playing in the Cypriot league. But tomorrow we'll try and implement the same tactical plan as in our last match in Nicosia against PSG, while making a few improvements. I'll give a bit more liberty to the players, so they can adapt to different situations which arise during the match.

[Reacting to Laurent Blanc saying Paris will have a hard time if they don't score in the first ten to 15 minutes] Well, I hope we can score in the first ten to 15 minutes then! It will obviously be difficult. There will be a lot of pressure and it's up to us to handle it in the best way possible.

Edinson Cavani after his winner in Nicosia
Edinson Cavani after his winner in Nicosia©AFP/Getty Images

You should always have faith, whoever your opponents are. If the coach doesn't, how can the players?

Weekend results
FC Lorient 1-2 Paris (Raphael Guerreiro 42; Cavani 60, Bahebeck 68)
Ethnikos Achnas FC 0-4 APOEL (Sheridan 7 55, Alexandrou 70, Manduca 85)

Form guide (all competitions)
Paris: WWWWDW
APOEL: WWLWDD

Match facts
• APOEL have yet to win an away match in the UEFA Champions League; how many away games have they played so far in the competition proper? Find out in our extensive match background.