Paris St Germain’s players are determined to exact revenge on champions Monaco by winning back the Ligue 1 title when the two teams meet at the Parc des Princes on Sunday.
Victory for runaway leaders PSG against the team who beat them to the championship by eight points last season would clinch the crown with five games to spare.
“It will be a small payback after last year, when Monaco won the championship,” left-back Layvin Kurzawa said on the PSG website. “This match allows us to win it this season, at home, against them. This can be a very nice moment for us, it’s up to us to respond.”
January signing Lassana Diarra added: “It’s a mini final, even if it’s in the league. We will try to win to be crowned champions as quickly as possible. Against Monaco, it would be even better.”
PSG, whose 14-match winning domestic run was ended by a 1-1 draw at St Etienne last time out, are still without Neymar, although the Brazil striker is expected to return before the end of the season after as he recovers from the fractured metatarsal and sprained ankle he suffered in February.
Former Monaco forward Kylian Mbappe, who played a key role in denying PSG the title last season before his summer switch to the capital, is set to be denied the chance to face his former club by illness.
PSG coach Unai Emery, whose future beyond the end of the campaign is open to question given his side’s Champions League failure, challenged his players to continue rewriting the club’s history.
“It’s a great opportunity,” he said at a press conference. “We want to win and play well.
“Monaco are in good form, they haven’t lost in 15 league matches. They have been very consistent, especially in recent months.
“We will try to win the league on Sunday. St Etienne won the league 10 times, Marseille nine times and Monaco eight times. Paris St Germain have won six and want to win this season to keep catching up and become the most successful team in history. It’s an important trophy for us, to keep moving forward.
“We want to win every competition we play in. The championship is very important for us. This is our principle competition. All the players know this. The club wants to keep progressing, to keep improving, to become the best in the world, so every competition is important.”
Monaco midfielder Joao Moutinho insists his team are not fussed by the significance of the match, particularly for their opponents.
“We do not think about PSG, we will play to gain points, to keep our advantage over opponents,” the Portugal international, whose side went into the weekend seven points clear of Lyon in third, said on the club website.
“We have lost the last two games against (PSG), but this is a new opportunity to give our best. We will do everything to win the match there. We never think of drawing when we take to the field. We always have the ambition to win.”