Mauricio Pochettino hopes his Paris Saint-Germain side are able to make Lille feel the heat on the final day of the Ligue 1 season.
PSG’s title defence will be over on Sunday if surprise leaders Lille get a better result at home to Saint-Etienne than Pochettino’s men are able to manage when Reims visit the Parc des Princes.
If Lille win, the best PSG can hope for heading into the final weekend is having a three-point deficit to overturn.
Following the midweek penalty shootout triumph over Montpellier in the semi-finals of the Coupe de France, Pochettino believes his players have got last weekend’s disappointing 1-1 draw at Rennes, that handed Christophe Galtier’s side an advantage they appear unlikely to relinquish, out of their system.
“We don’t want to repeat the problems that we made last week with Rennes. I think that is key,” he told a pre-match news conference.
“We need to stay in control of the game to go after a victory and get three points that would keep us in the title race until the last day of the season
“We are motivated, nobody needs motivation. We are motivated to win tomorrow and put the pressure on Lille. We are not thinking about following their game
“We are focused on our match and getting three points because that would give us a chance. Our fate is not in our hands, but we need to make sure that we get our job done.”
As is now customary at Pochettino briefings, Kylian Mbappe’s future was raised.
The former Tottenham boss offered no updates on any potential new contract, choosing instead to make light of the France superstar’s boisterous midweek goal celebrations.
“Thanks to that celebration I have some back pain, which I am having physio treatment for,” he chuckled.
“Paris Saint-Germain have an ambitious project in place and keeping a player like Kylian is a key priority for all of us.”
PSG will be without Neymar in the cup final after he collected a booking during an at times fraught encounter with Montpellier, subject to an appeal
“This is something the club is handling over the next few days,” Pochettino confirmed. “We will see what the decision is and what we can do. But it is something we are thinking about.”
Even without Neymar or Mbappe in the short or long term, PSG do not lack for attacking options, although Argentine striker Mauro Icardi has been off colour of late.
The former Inter captain is without a goal in his past four appearances, with a particularly lacklustre showing during the Champions League exit to Manchester City seeing him restricted to 16 touches at the Etihad Stadium.
Nevertheless, Pochettino believes his countryman can still contribute within his preferred high-octane style of play.
“At Tottenham we had different options in terms of style of play, transitions and playing high at different stages,” he explained.
“They depend on how well the team was doing, this depends on how you build a team over time, getting to know your players very well and their attributes.
“Mauro Icardi can adapt to any style. He is a top player and that doesn’t just apply to transitions, he is dangerous in the box and a clinical finisher.
“These are things we can all work on together and we need to build it over time with the team, bearing in mind the players’ attributes so you can create the right dynamics in the team to give you the flexibility that the game requires.”