Marco Verratti needs to set tone and help PSG avoid complacency against Manchester United

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Marco Verratti will want to banish memories of last year's Champions League exit.

Paris Saint-Germain are in command of their Champions League round of 16 tie against Manchester United, having won the first leg 2-0 with the second leg at home on Wednesday.

Their superb performance from the first leg has given manager Thomas Tuchel some breathing space going into this fixture, with complacency now his side’s biggest enemy as they look to seal a quarter-final berth.

Here’s a look at the tactical talking points likely weighing on Tuchel’s mind heading into the second leg. Check out our analysis of United’s tactical options here.

LET VERRATTI DICTATE PROCEEDINGS

Though PSG are in a commanding position, it will take only one United goal for the nerves to kick in again. And the surest way for United to disrupt PSG’s rhythm is to target their lead midfielder.

They’ll have noted Verratti’s impact in the first leg – he had the most touches and passes in the game – and will be paying him close attention this time around.

The Italian will need support to keep PSG in control of the game. Keep feeding the Italian the ball, make sure there’s a player close by in case he needs to recycle possession, and give him attacking runs to find with his pinpoint passing, and PSG will dominate. Simple enough in theory – they do it every week – but this time, they’ll have to do it while adjusting to United’s counter-plan for the midfielder.

0305 PSG Verratti

TUCHEL’S FORMATION OPTIONS

Tuchel used a 4-2-3-1 formation in the first leg, with Marquinhos sitting alongside Verratti and Dani Alves deployed as a winger, though in attack it often looked more like a 3-4-2-1 as Juan Bernat pushed forward. Though the success in that game may tempt Tuchel to adopt the same tactics this time around, he’s also been experimenting with his tactics in recent weeks.

PSG have played in a 3-5-2, 4-4-2 (twice), and 3-4-3 in the four games since their win over United. The German has a preference for formations with three at the back and he may think that the work rate demanded in such a set-up will help guard against complacency. At the same time, it also leaves space behind the wing-backs that someone like Marcus Rashford would love to exploit.

Could pragmatism rule the day? PSG have a two-goal lead, and playing four at the back will give them enough cover against United’s counter-attacks.

0305 PSG Pragmatism

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Thomas Tuchel hails PSG's mentality and praises "special" Kylian Mbappe

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Kylian Mbappe

Paris Saint-Germain boss Thomas Tuchel hailed his side’s “exceptional mentality” and described Kylian Mbappe as “a special player” after the 1-0 victory at St Etienne.

Mbappe’s winner, his 19th Ligue 1 goal of the season, came in 73rd-minute of the contest when the 20-year-old sent a superb volley into the corner of the net.

Tuchel, whose table-toppers are now 12 points clear of second-placed Lille with two games in hand, was quoted by L’Equipe as saying: “I am very happy because I knew very well that it was very difficult to play at St Etienne.

“The field was very difficult to play. My team showed an exceptional mentality.

“We accepted all the circumstances. We’re in the game with our head. We defended with great intensity and vigilance. I am very happy. We have been patient, the victory is deserved.”

Regarding Mbappe’s latest goal, five days on from his strike in the 2-0 Champions League win at Manchester United, Tuchel said: “He shows his quality every day in training, he has this hunger to score, score, score. It’s his quality. He is a special player.”

The German added: “Everyone was tired after Manchester United, physically but also mentally. It was necessary to control the game, to play focused. We showed the mentality to win.”

PSG, once again without injured duo Neymar and Edinson Cavani, had gone close to scoring six minutes prior to Mbappe’s goal through Angel Di Maria, and Julian Draxler was denied by a fine Stephane Ruffier save earlier in the second half.

Between those attempts Gabriel Silva shot just wide of the visitors’ goal, and the closest fifth-placed St Etienne came in their search for an equaliser was Kevin Monnet-Paquet driving an attempt over the bar in the 84th minute.

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Kylian Mbappe the matchwinner as PSG extend Ligue 1 advantage to 12 points

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Paris Saint-Germain extended their advantage at the top of the Ligue 1 table to 12 points after recording a narrow 1-0 victory over St Etienne on Sunday evening.

After second-placed Lille had only managed to pick up a single point earlier in the day, PSG took full advantage in the late kick-off, earning all three points courtesy of Kylian Mbappe’s second-half strike.

Having failed to break the deadlock in a goalless first half, the capital club eventually went ahead when Mbappe volleyed the ball beyond home goalkeeper Stephane Ruffier in the 73rd minute.

Lille saw their five-match winning run in the league come to an end as Montpellier held them to a goalless draw at Stade Pierre Mauroy.

Christophe Galtier’s side remain second in the table, four points clear of third-placed Lyon but have a mountain to climb if they are to catch leaders PSG, who have two games in hand.

Toma Basic opened the scoring inside the first two minutes as Bordeaux beat Toulouse 2-1.

The 22-year-old’s early headed effort was cancelled out by a Yannick Cahuzac volley in the 70th minute but Jimmy Briand had the last word, rifling in the winner with eight minutes remaining.

Reims jumped up to seventh in the table after their 2-0 win against Rennes.

The hosts made their first meaningful chance count as Boulaye Dia broke the deadlock after two minutes.

Remi Oudin doubled Reims’ lead in the 68th minute to secure three points which lifted them above their opponents.

Meanwhile, strugglers Caen earned an important point as they drew 0-0 with Strasbourg.

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