Mauricio Pochettino Is Optimistic Kylian Mbappe Will Be FIT To Face Man City In The Champions League Semi-Final Showdown At The Etihad.

Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe is an element of gamble on whether or not to include him in the teams starting XI when they face Manchester City in the Champions League return-leg clash on Tuesday.

Mbappe has travelled with the PSG squad to Manchester on Monday despite a calf injury which he suffered in the first-leg in Paris last Wednesday.

The PSG’s leading goalscorer for the season, registered no shot on target, as Man City came from behind to defeat the French champions 2-1.

PSG dominated the first half of the first leg at the Parc des Princes but failed to make the most of their early chances and were punished as City hit back after the break.

Marquinhos opened scoring for PSG in the 15th mins, before Kevin De Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez equalised and scored the winner for City in the 64th and 71st mins respectively. Idrissa Gana Gueye was later sent off after a poorly-timed tackle on Ilkay Gundogan in the 77th mins.

The PSG midfielder is the only player who would miss Tuesday's game, but report claims that UEFA has announced that the suspension has been extended to two matches for "serious rough play" following a disciplinary hearing, which will also see the former Everton player get suspended for the final also if they get through.

Mbappe has scored 37 goals in 43 appearances in all competitions so far this season, including 8 goals in 10 Champions League matches but failed to score against a resilient City side.

The French star is not 100 per cent fit heading into the semi-final second leg at the Etihad stadium, as he was rested as a precaution for the weekend 2-1 win against Lens in the Ligue 1.

"We need to assess Kylian," said the PSG boss Mauricio Pochettino.

"Today, he is going to start an individual training session and see if he can be with the team. There is still one day and we will see and decide if he is going to be available.

"There are games that prepare themselves as we say and this is one of them. We're going to go into it with a lot of heart, pride and desire to win to try and make history."

PSG are looking to reach the final of the Champions League for the second year running, having lost narrowly to Bayern Munich in Lisbon last August, while Pep Guardiola's Man City would have to defend their first-leg victory effectively if they want to make their debut final in the competition.

Pochettino also stressed the importance of taking any chances that come, and be more clinical than they were in the first leg in Paris.

"We will try to give trust and confidence to the players," he added.

"The intention is to deprive them of the possession but it is a challenge. They have played six years under the same philosophy with Pep.

"We are trying to get more balance. We need to be ready to suffer in some parts of the game. We need to be clinical and aggressive."

"It's a game of 90 minutes, and we need to first score twice. We need two unreplied goals if we want to go through to the final. That's the objective and we're going to try.

"They have an advantage, 2-1, and we need to take a risk. We need to be brave, be clever, believe and show our quality on the pitch."

"It is going to be a battle but, most importantly, we will be ready. Players love to play these type of games. No-one wants to be out. They all want to be involved."

The Argentine manager, was in charge of the Spurs side that famously came from behind to beat Ajax in Amsterdam in the semi-finals in 2019, but lost 2-0 in the all English final to Liverpool at the Metropolitano stadium in Madrid.

Pochettino was appointed PSG manager in January following the sack of former boss Thomas Tuchel last December. He could meet his predecessor who is now the manager of Chelsea if both teams progress to the final set for May 29, at the Atatürk Olympic Stadium.


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