Mathieu spoke to the press in Spanish and his native French. PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB.

Jérémy Mathieu was the player chosen to appear in the pre-match press conference in Paris – the natural choice considering his nationality. But asked whether playing in his home country added to the challenge, the defender replied that “it’s important for me, yes. But there’s no added pressure. It’s a game like any other.” Asked what he recalls of playing at the Parc des Princes in his time in France, he said “I have fond memories. Like the day I scored for Sochaux here.”

He also commented that "PSG aren’t the same without Ibrahimovic. Their game changes … I wanted to play against him but his absence is good for us.” Does this mean that Barça can now be considered favourites? “PSG do have some players injured but they have other players that can come in to play this game, and they’re top quality internationals. But we’re here to go for the three points and I think we can get them.”

PSG aren’t the same without IbrahimovicBarça have yet to concede a goal this season, and as a defender, Mathieu was asked to comment on that. “It’s a nice challenge to continue the unbeaten run” he said. “With us, defence starts in attack and when everyone does their job it’s so much easier. We’ll try not to let in any goals tomorrow and keep this momentum going.”

Happy with the way he is performing at his new club, the Frenchman said that “I try to do the best I can to help the team. I play like I did at Valencia. It’s the same style and I’m glad that the people appreciate what I’m doing.” He ended with a few words about Leo Messi, saying that “he’s a nice lad. He was very welcoming to me when I arrived and I thank him for that.”

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