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Xavi backs PSG to knock Real Madrid out of Champions League

Paris Saint-Germain can still eliminate Real Madrid from this season's Champions League, despite their 3-1 first-leg defeat in their round-of-16 tie last week, according to Barcelona legend Xavi.

PSG conceded two late goals at the Bernabeu last Wednesday to leave them with an uphill task at the Parc des Princes in two weeks' time.

Speaking to So Foot, Xavi stated his belief that coach Unai Emery's men can turn the tie around.

"Real got a bit lucky in the first leg," Xavi said. "However, they made their own luck. So, I say that if PSG can show character in the second leg, they can do it.

"A two-goal deficit is not insurmountable, and a lot of things can happen over 90 minutes. As far as I am concerned, PSG have the mentality to succeed and turn the tide.

"Dani [Alves], [Marco] Verratti, [Angel] Di Maria... I mean, come on, Di Maria did not get to play a single minute!

"It is inexplicable. Real did not really play, yet they won. Once again, PSG needed to kill the match when they had the chance.

"It was not a game that you could analyse in just one go. There were different phases. In the second half, there was a period where PSG were clearly in the ascendency. During these moments, you could feel that Real were ready to crack under PSG's pressure.

"It was at this time that PSG needed to get their second goal. They did not and consequently, they conceded two. What PSG experienced, I have also gone through with Barca."

Xavi will hang up his boots at the end of the season.

Xavi, who is due to retire with Al Sadd at the end of the season and move into coaching, rejected the idea that the PSG players were haunted by memories of Barca's Remontada at the same stage of last season's Champions League.

"I do not think that the PSG players thought back to the 6-1," the 38-year-old said. "I thought that they played with a lot of personality.

"Did PSG play badly? No. Were Real awful? Not really. The difference between the two is that Real were able to win, even when they were not at their very best."

Emery has been criticised and he was whistled and booed by some fans before Saturday's 5-2 win over Strasbourg.

"When you lose 3-1, criticism is normal," he said. "If Zidane loses by the same score, in the same match, he would also get ripped apart.

"It is always like this in football -- when you win, you are great."

Jonathan Johnson covers PSG and the French national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @Jon_LeGossip.


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