Monaco-PSG preview: No Mbappé, Messi as PSG head south – LFP

PSG have won just one of their four top-flight matches against teams ranked in the top five in the table this season, and lost their most recent two to Lens and Rennes. While Mbappé is nursing a thigh injury for the next three weeks, Messi has muscle fatigue that he may shake off before Tuesday’s UEFA Champions League game with Bayern Munich but will keep him out of the trip to the Côte d’Azur.
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Before Bayern, the league leaders head to Monaco where they have lost on their last two visits looking to find some semblance of form ahead of their big European Valentine’s Day date after being knocked out of the Coupe de France in Marseille on Wednesday.
“You have to find the right words and make a realistic analysis of the match we lost. We also have to look ahead to Monaco, who are a quality team. We have to talked with the players about what didn’t work against Marseille. We can’t do anything about our elimination from the Coupe de France, we have to focus on what comes next, and Monaco. We have to keep cool and work on what we can do better,” said coach Christophe Galtier.
“We’ve got an intense run of games. Monaco didn’t play in the week. We have to use as many players as possible and exploit the physical and mental freshness of everyone to get through this run of matches.”
Galtier suggested he may tweak his tactics in the principality in a bid to shore up a defence that has failed to keep a clean sheet in its last four league games; Monaco, meanwhile, have scored in their last 32 top-flight outings.
🆗📋 The Parisian squad for the match against Monaco

“We’ll perhaps have to play in a different way given the injuries and abilities of the players. Of course Messi will be a miss against Monaco, but it’s part of being a coach to deal with those sorts of things. We have to make a big effort to be better mentally and to win more challenges in midfield,” said Galtier, who will also be without Marco Verratti as he has treatmtent on a minor thigh problem.
“We should expect the same kind of match as against Marseille but with different characteristics. They’re a team that presses a lot, play high up the pitch with man-to-man marking in zones. There’s a lot of attacking quality with several players who can feature up front. They’re capable of being dangerous at any time, but we can cause Monaco problems and we have to show a different face to the one shown at the Vélodrome.”
Monaco come into the match on the cusp of the top three — they are two points off third place — after a seven-game unbeaten run in which they have won five times, including their last two. 
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Philippe Clément’s side also have a big European game coming up with a trip to Bayer Leverkusen for their UEFA Europa League play-off on Thursday, but key defender Guillermo Maripan insists the side are focussed on continuing their comeback from a tricky start to the season that saw them knocked out of the Champions League and pick up just five points from their opening quintet of league games.
“No season is like the previous one. At the start of this season, we were receiving a lot of red cards, which cost us points. But each year, we have managed to show a strength of character to pick ourselves back up,” said the Chile international centre-back, currently the top 5 European league’s most prolific defender with four goals and an assist, including the opener in last weekend’s 2-0 win at Clermont. “We have shown a lot of quality to prove that we are fighting for the European places, and that is positive.”
Probable teams

Monaco: Nübel; Aguilar, Disasi, Maripan, Caio Henrique; Fofana, Camara; Diatta, Minamino, Golovin; Embolo
PSG: Donnarumma; Hakimi, Marquinhos, Danilo, Bernat; Ruiz, Verratti, Zaire-Emery; Soler; Neymar, Ekitike
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