Luis Enrique and Unai Emery have been preparing for Wednesday night’s Champions League encounter at Camp Nou in two different ways. The former, maybe influenced by a dressing room full of so many global superstars, in a more relaxed way; the latter, despite a 4-0 advantage from the first leg, with his usual clinical attention to detail. “Lots of videos, lots of videos,” said PSG midfielder Marco Verratti a couple of weeks ago.
Emery on the spot
In Monday’s final session before PSG travelled to Spain for the match, Emery also had his players practicing penalties, to the surprise of the French media as it could be viewed is a sign of weakness when going into a game with a four-goal advantage. But that is Emery’s method and it is the same approach that achieved, among other things, convincing his Sevilla players in the Europa League final penalty shoot-out in 2014 against Benfica to hit their shots “hard and on your natural side.”
For Luis Enrique, as is understandable, it would be verging on frivolity to practive spot kicks. “I haven’t spoken to Ter Stegen because if it goes to penalties he just has to stop them. It’s not the same taking a penalty in training with seven or eight teammates laughing at you to taking one in front of 100,000 people. It’s so unreal given the situation that we’re in…”
Luis Enrique: "We haven't thought about penalties"
When told that Emery had been practicing penalties, Luis Enrique responded: “That’s just another anecdote. It’s a different situation. We haven’t thought about that.”
Much of Barcelonismo will be happy if the game does go to penalties in view of the uphill struggle facing the side. And if that happens, Ter Stegen “just has to stop them.”