“We’ll have to take a photo, we’ve never seen so many people”. In the press room of the Jan-Breydel stadium, Belgian journalists smile at the number of occupied chairs before the press conference of Marquinhos and Mauricio Pochettino on the eve of the first European meeting of the season, this Wednesday, in Bruges. Before joining the field for training, the Brazilian captain, with a concentrated face, sent a few messages.
Have you already spoken a lot about the reunion with the Champions League?
MARQUES. We talk every day about the importance of this competition. We know it, we dream of it. Everyone is aware of this. The closer we get to the match, the more we talk about motivation. Every game can be very important to us.
Everyone points to Paris as the big favorite. Do you feel the pressure is greater this season?
No ! We know the pressure every season, especially when you play for PSG, it comes with it. It’s true that with the group we have this season, people will talk even more. Mostly they are going to want to watch our games. It’s really nice. There is therefore no additional pressure but only positive.
If one of the three offensive elements Messi, Mbappé, Neymar were not to make a defensive withdrawal, would you be the one who could tell them?
Sure. Everyone should know what to do. If all three are playing what I don’t know yet, they are experienced. They know the importance of playing compact. As we know it is important for the defense to be high to help them. Once on the ground you have to say things. Same if they need to say things about defense. There will be no resentment afterwards. When something is wrong, you have to say it.
Knowing that the whole world is watching PSG, does it change something?
For me there is not much that changes. There is nothing negative about everyone looking at you. We have experienced players. They know how to handle the pressure.
How are you approaching the game against Bruges?
We came here to take points; We only have important and decisive matches in this group (Editor’s note: with Manchester City and Leipzig). You have to start by playing good matches. Two years ago, we had a physical match against a courageous team that runs a lot. We had a hard time at first. In the second half it had been better. Above all, it will take a good start to have a good match from the start.
How do you speak to a player like Messi who has won the Champions League four times?
I haven’t had a speech with Leo yet. We talk every day, football, other things, training, strategy, tactics. There hasn’t been a Champions League speech yet. It’s more collectively. A captain, too, must also set an example. Not only in the lyrics, but also in the way of training. This is how I like to show my way of taking the lead. If it is necessary to speak one day, we will do it, but it is not yet the time.
We feel that PSG is more than ever the team to beat in Europe. Do you share this feeling?
No. I let people talk. I’m not going to come here to say that PSG are the best team in the world, the team to beat. We are going to fight like it’s the last day of our lives. This is how we enter the field. You don’t win a game just with your name. You have to play well to win a match because football is not won before the referee’s whistle.