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Ancelotti -PSG can cope with pressure

February 11, 2013
By Ian Holyman, France Correspondent

The Paris Saint-Germain squad may be lacking in Champions League experience, but coach Carlo Ancelotti believes his side can cope with the pressure when they step out at Valencia for the first leg of their last-16 tie on Tuesday.

Ancelotti
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Zlatan Ibrahimovic is just eight games short of a century of appearances in European football's elite competition, while defenders Alex and Maxwell are also well-accustomed to the rareified Champions League atmosphere.

The remainder of Ancelotti's likely starting line-up are relative novices at this level, but the ex-Chelsea coach, 53, is confident his side will not freeze at La Mestalla.

"It's true that experience is a very important factor in this competition," he said. "But those who have played only a few games of this kind have the same responsibility as those who know them well. No-one will have a problem coping with the pressure.

"Lucas, for example, is going to discover it, but he's used to playing big international matches with Brazil. With his speed, his ability, he can play a big role on Tuesday."

Back in the competition for the first time since the 2004-05 campaign, PSG looked anything but uncertain newcomers in the group stage. A 4-1 opening game triumph over Dynamo Kiev helped smooth the way to the knockout rounds for Ancelotti's men, who served notice of their potential in beating Porto in December to claim top spot in Group A.

"I hope that we'll play the way we played in our second game against Porto. Then, we played really well despite the fact we had more pressure and less confidence. Here, it's the opposite," Ancelotti said, contrasting his team's slow start to the season with their current position as Ligue 1 leaders, six points clear at the top.

"It's true that we have a lot of pace, and consequently play well on the counter-attack," he added. "But we also like to keep the ball. This away game will be a good test for us, because I think we'll have the ball. Above all, I have the feeling we'll put in a great display."