Ander Herrera says it “wouldn’t be a failure” for Paris Saint-Germain if they don’t end up winning the Champions League this month.
PSG are on the verge of winning Europe’s elite competition for the first time in their history, having earned a spot in the semi-finals for the first time since 1995.
Thomas Tuchel’s men beat Atalanta in dramatic fashion in midweek to set up a last-four tie against RB Leipzig, who pulled off the upset of the round so far to knock out Atletico Madrid.
The Ligue 1 champions rode their luck to overcome Italian opposition at Estadio da Luz, with stoppage-time goals from Marquinhos and Eric Maxim Chupo-Moting cancelling out Mario Pasalic’s first-half opener.
Neymar and Kylian Mbappe led PSG’s charge in the second half to complete a stunning turnaround, and they are now considered strong favourites to reach the showpiece event on August 23.
However, Herrera says success in Europe won’t define the club’s season, given the fact they have already got their hands on all four domestic trophies on offer in France.
The 31-year-old midfielder told a pre-match press conference: “If we didn’t win the Champions League, it wouldn’t be a failure. It would be a failure for ten teams then. We have already done a fantastic job at the national level with four titles won this season.
“But it is true that Leipzig, or Lyon for example, perhaps didn’t expect to be here. We have the quality and the ability to win the semi-final, but we have to know they will play free, without the pressure of winning the game. They will be very dangerous for us. ”
Pressed further on the challenge Leipzig will pose PSG on Tuesday, Herrera responded: “They are a very offensive and very courageous team. They don’t have the pressure of having to win the Champions League or play the final. It may be more dangerous for us. They have a diagram with the ball, and another without.
“We will have to prepare well for this match because they will play more liberally, with less pressure. The fact that they are offensive can be a good thing for us because our attackers can build up speed, but we will also have to defend well because they can create a lot of chances.”
The Spain international added on how Tuchel will set his team up to get a positive result against the Bundesliga side: “This season, we have played in several systems, with three central defenders, in 4-4-2 or in 4-3-3 as well. We have a lot of good players and possibilities.
“It’s not just [Angel] Di Maria. Mbappe seems ready to help, Neymar too, Pablo Sarabia is reliable. He gives assists, he scores goals. We are very respectful towards Leipzig, but we are confident because we have a lot of players who can play and change the course of a game.”
Herrera was also asked to weigh in on Bayern Munich’s remarkable 8-2 victory over Barcelona in the quarter-finals, but refused to allow the focus to shift from the current task at hand for PSG.
“We were all impressed with the result,” he said. “It’s the first time in history that something like this has happened in the quarter-finals, but we prefer to be aware of Leipzig. Our goal is Leipzig.
“The most important thing is to prepare this game against a team that played fantastic against Atletico Madrid. We saw a team with a lot of confidence. Leipzig impressed me too.
“We have to be very respectful of this team and prepare for the match in the best possible way.”