The important thing is the three points? A football cliché that will apply again on the occasion of PSG-Nantes this Saturday (21 p.m.), on the 15th day of Ligue 1. However, the important thing is perhaps elsewhere for Luis Enrique's men. Obviously, they will be aiming to win against the Canaries and thus consolidate their place at the top of the table, as they have a lead of four points over Nice and six over Monaco. But they would probably sign with both hands if they were promised a defeat on Saturday and a win on Wednesday. Paris Saint-Germain will play for their European future at Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League. If they win in Germany, they will advance to the round of 8. Otherwise, they will be dependent on the result of Newcastle-Milan and could just as easily continue their journey in C1 as they could be relegated to the Europa League play-offs. Maximum stakes, then.
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However, the Parisians have no intention of taking this match against the Canaries by the scruff of their heads. The best way to prepare before C1 is always to win. "It's important to have a good game at home before Dortmund," Luis Enrique told a press conference about the "important game". All the more important as it will (probably) allow two returnees, Marquinhos and Warren Zaire-Emery, to revive. Injured with their respective national teams during the November gathering, they have resumed training in recent days. Expected for the Brazilian, surprising for the Frenchman who was thought to be out for the rest of the year. "Marquinhos is fine. Warren is available. It's good news for the players, for the team and of course the coach as well," smiled Luis Enrique.
Read alsoLuis Enrique before PSG-Nantes: "Total freedom for Mbappé"
The Spanish coach has a lot to smile about, knowing the importance of both players. The return of Marquinhos would allow Lucas Hernandez to move back to the left. The one of "WZE" is obviously appreciable because of the quality of the 17-year-old, but also because his natural replacement, Fabian Ruiz, is out with a shoulder injury. Starters or substitutes, the important thing will be to see them in action at least part of the match this Saturday. It should be noted that Achraf Hakimi is part of the squad, having missed Friday's training session due to the outcome of the proceedings relating to his rape indictment. In goal, it is Arnau Tenas who should officiate, knowing that Gigio Donnarumma, in the rough, is suspended for two matches and that Keylor Navas (back) is still unavailable. Which Tenas made his debut in the pro and in Rouge et Bleu in Normandy. A successful premiere. Barring a huge surprise, however, Donnarumma should regain his place in goal to face Borussia.
And tactically, will Luis Enrique be able to use this match against Nantes to prepare for the one against Dortmund? "They played in a 4-3-3 formation against Nice, which could be useful to prepare Dortmund even if the circumstances are different, with a new coach (Gourvennec, editor's note). And other teams are used to changing systems against us. So we don't really know how they will behave, especially as it could change depending on the result," said the former FC Barcelona coach in a press conference, insisting that "the most important feature of this match is that Nantes changed coach before the previous one. We only have one game to watch, with a 4-3-3, their determination and the victory, in an open game. We will have to be very careful. It's a game where anything is possible. It's a difficult match to predict in terms of physiognomy."
Read alsoPSG: indicted for rape, Hakimi misses training as part of the legal proceedings
Test(s) for Dortmund?
With a mischievous look on his face, Luis Enrique did not hide the fact that some of his choices against Nantes could be guided by a test logic with a view to Dortmund. "It's possible," he smiled. With, for example, Bradley Barcola back in the starting line-up? Clumsy as can be in front of goal against Newcastle (1-1), the former Lyon player is one of the options to compensate for the absence of Ousmane Dembélé (suspended) in Dortmund. One thing is certain, the Spaniard is counting on the young (21-year-old) French striker, whom he had to replace early in the game in Le Havre due to the dismissal of Gigio Donnarumma. "He's a player with a future for the club. The future is already tomorrow," he sums up.
It remains to be seen if Kylian Mbappé, a free agent at the end of the season, will represent the future of the club. In the meantime, the present goes through the captain of Les Bleus, top scorer in Ligue 1 with 15 goals. "KM" is more indispensable than ever. That will be true this Saturday, and even more so on Wednesday. It remains to be seen in which register the former Monegasque will be used. On the left, as is often the case, or in the middle, as in the second half against Reims or at Le Havre?
It's a false debate for Luis Enrique. "He's playing like he did last season, he's got total freedom in attack," said the Asturian coach. Defensively, he has certain imposed tricks, like all the other players on the team. But in attack, he can be on one wing or another, between the lines or as a false 9. Total freedom for Kylian. We compensate for his mobility with the positioning of his teammates. He played the last game, in Le Havre, like all the others." On the left, in the middle or elsewhere, the important thing is that Mbappé scores and/or has others score, which he does better than anyone. "I'd like to have three Mbappé's," smiled "Lucho" recently. There is only one. It's up to him.