Mauricio Pochettino praised the “sacrifice” of his players to stun Bayern Munich, but said they had to do better than the rematch against Barcelona to qualify for the Champions League semi-finals.
Pochettino’s side are 90 minutes away from meeting Manchester City or Borussia Dortmund in the semi-finals after a 3-2 victory at the Allianz Arena, inflicting Bayern’s first defeat in the Champions League in 20 games, lasting more than two years.
The Argentine team created a similar stunning result when they beat Barcelona 4-1 at the Nou Camp in the first half of the last 16 draws of this season’s competition, before the Catalan team missed a number of chances to give themselves a fighting chance back at the Parc des Princes in a timid home present.
Pochettino believes a replay will not be enough for PSG to advance this time, and after beating the reigning German champions for RMC Sport: “I am satisfied with the result, the attitude of the team that found itself in difficult situations against the best team in Europe. We have to congratulate the players on their sense of sacrifice. We are trying to repeat this performance.
“When you win, it’s always easier to explain your decisions, everyone thinks you made the right choice. The credit goes to the players, they are the main protagonists, their quality has to be highlighted.
“There were a lot of casualties tonight, but we have one more game left, 90 minutes to play. The first game is favorable, but the return will be difficult as we know it.
“It’s a completely different result compared to the first game against Barca, the advantage there is as small as possible. We hope that our performance in return will be better than against Barcelona, that’s our wish.”
Mbappe: Poch gave us the confidence to play
PSG were eight minutes away from a 2-0 lead at halftime to the locker room against Bayern, but Eric Maxima Choupo-Moting’s goal gave the hosts a fighting chance to return before the interval.
German dominance began to prove by the time of the half-time whistle, but double scorer Kylian Mbappe said BT Sport that Pochettino told his players to stay confident enough to play football and take over the hosts after the break.
“After the first goal we stayed and Bayern Munich put a lot of pressure [on us] but at half-time the coach said to keep our confidence and not be afraid to play and we did. It was much better in the second half.
“It was a little difficult in the first 15 minutes of the second half and they equalized, but after we scored the last goal we kept the score.
“It was a tough game against the best team in Europe at the moment, but we played well. We played as a team, the team was good. My teammates were so good and I want to congratulate the whole team.
“But this is just the first game, and we have another game at home and we have to stay focused on the game.”