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Barca tormentor Di Maria racing to be fit for PSG, Motta out

Thiago Motta will miss PSG's return at Barcelona due to a calf injury, while first-leg hero Angel Di Maria will look to prove his fitness.

AngelDiMaria - cropped
PSG midfielder Angel Di Maria

Paris Saint-Germain will make a late call on Angel Di Maria for Wednesday's last-16 Champions League match at Barcelona but experienced midfielder Thiago Motta misses out with a calf problem.

Unai Emery's men hold a handsome 4-0 advantage heading into the return fixture at Camp Nou following an emphatic triumph on home turf last month.

Di Maria netted a stunning brace before being substituted after an hour with a muscular problem and the Argentina star has only made one appearance since – a second-half cameo during the 5-1 Ligue 1 thrashing of Marseille.

Motta was not involved in the initial game at Parc des Princes, as Marco Verratti, Blaise Matuidi and Adrien Rabiot reduced Barca's celebrated midfield to rubble, and the Italy international will not be available to play a containing role if Luis Enrique's men gain a foothold in the tie.

"Thiago Motta will not play," Emery told a pre-match news conference.

"For the others we'll see whether those who are doubtful are able to play tomorrow."

Di Maria comes into the latter category and Emery added: "We need our players to be at 100 per cent, or close to it, for this game.

"All the players want to play this game and maybe the players who are doubtful won't feel they're doubtful after training!"

Since the seismic first leg, Luis Enrique has reshuffled Barca into a fluent 3-4-3 formation during a run of four consecutive LaLiga wins, while also announcing he will step down as head coach at the end of this season.

Sporting Gijon and Celta Vigo were both beaten by five-goal margins at Camp Nou and Emery is keen for PSG not to give the Catalans' rampant forward line a sniff.

"We need to be ready to do everything: defend, attack, play together, cope when they are dominating, and make them fight," he said.

"We need to win our one-on-ones and on a collective level get the upper hand. We want to carry on where we left off in Paris.

"I have the same confidence in my team as before the first leg and the same respect for Barcelona.

"Our only thought is to play the way we did in the first leg, without thinking about the result."

Regarding Luis Enrique's apparently new-found tactical flexibility, Emery added: "Irrespective of what system they're using right now I view Barcelona as a great team full of special players.

"Over my time in football I've learned that it's vital to respect your rival. That's what I'm transmitting to my players before the game.

"We're confident, but we must reinforce that respect we've got for Barca. This is a great team we're facing, in a great stadium, but this is our opportunity to play here and show what we're made of."

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