PSG eager to prove they belong in the Champions League when they play Valencia

French side hold 2-1 advantage from first leg

Leonardo's assertion that Paris St Germain are made for the Champions League but not for low-key Ligue 1 matches could backfire tonight if they do not show a dramatic improvement against Valencia in a last 16 second leg.

Sports director Leonardo explained PSG's embarrassing 1-0 league defeat at battling 10-man Stade Reims on Saturday by saying: "Maybe we have a team made for Europe, based on talent and passing quality, not for that kind of game."

PSG indeed looked a different side from the one who beat Valencia 2-1 away in the first leg and their chances of success in Wednesday's home game have been hurt by suspensions to striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic and midfielder Marco Verratti.

The Ligue l leaders' defeat by Reims was the second in a row against a lowly team after they were humbled 3-2 by Sochaux before back-to-back wins against arch rivals Olympique Marseille in the league and French Cup.

PSG coach Carlo Ancelotti blamed a bad pitch at Reims for the loss but there will be no excuses on Wednesday on their Parc des Princes turf, where 37-year-old David Beckham could make his first Champions League appearance since 2010 with AC Milan.

The former England captain, who signed a short-term deal with PSG in January, could start the match unless Ancelotti decides to field Clement Chantome or Thiago Motta returns from injury.

The Italian coach is likely to change his centre back pairing with captain Thiago Silva in the running to feature for the first time in more than seven weeks after recovering from a thigh problem.

The Brazilian's return would be a boost to PSG, who could have all but sealed their last-eight qualification in Valencia if they had made more of their domination before allowing the Spaniards to pull a goal back late on.

Valencia are missing usual centre backs Adil Rami and Ricardo Costa.

France international Rami, who netted their 90th-minute goal in the first leg, is still recovering from a muscle strain in his left thigh while the Portuguese defender, who has suffered a minor muscle problem, has been left out of the squad.

"We know how Paris play. I watched their last two games and they often rely on the counter attack, allowing the other team to have the ball and breaking very well," Valencia full back Jeremy Mathieu said.

"Valencia's tactics are to pressure as much as possible and spend as much time in the opponent's half as we can," added the Frenchman, who returned from a lengthy injury break at the weekend and could play alongside Victor Ruiz at centre half.

Valencia drew 2-2 at home to city rivals Levante on Saturday, conceding late to miss out on a victory that would have lifted them above Malaga into fourth in La Liga.

Paraguay forward Nelson Valdez reckons the European Cup is a good benchmark for Valencia.

"I think the PSG match will be crucial for us to discover what level we are at. There are only strong teams left in the Champions League now, so we have to show we belong here," he told UEFA's website (http://www.uefa.com).

"The best music I know is the Champions League anthem. Personally, it always gives me goose bumps, listening to that music and standing in line before the game - even sitting on the bench. It means I am at a good club and I am a part of this."

Probable teams:

Paris St Germain: 30-Salvatore Sirigu; 26-Christophe Jallet, 2-Thiago Silva, 13-Alex, 17-Maxwell; 29-Lucas, 32-David Beckham, 14-Blaise Matuidi, 27-Javier Pastore; 7-Jeremy Menez, 11-Ezequiel Lavezzi

Valencia: 13-Vicente Guaita; 12-Joao Pereira, 22-Jeremy Mathieu, 18-Victor Ruiz, 17-Andres Guardado; 24-Tino Costa, 21-Daniel Parejo; 8-Sofiane Feghouli, 10-Ever Banega, 7-Jonas; 9-Roberto Soldado

Reuters

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Kim Wilde began gardening in the 1990s when she moved to the countryside
peopleThe singer is leading an appeal for the charity Thrive, which uses the therapy of horticulture
Sport
Alexis Sanchez celebrates scoring a second for Arsenal against Reading
football
Life and Style
health
Voices
An easy-peel potato; Dave Hax has come up with an ingenious method in food preparation
voicesDave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
News
Japan's population is projected to fall dramatically in the next 50 years (Wikimedia)
news
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own