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Lassana Diarra: PSG players completely behind Unai Emery

PARIS -- Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Lassana Diarra has insisted that he and his teammates are completely behind coach Unai Emery after Wednesday's 3-1 Champions League round of 16 first leg defeat away at Real Madrid.

Speaking with Canal+ after a 5-2 win over Strasbourg at Parc des Princes in Ligue 1 on Saturday, the France international was firm in that the squad is behind the Spaniard after he attracted plenty of criticism for his role in the loss at Santiago Bernabeu.

"Everybody is behind the coach," said Diarra. "We know what happened in the first leg and we know what we need to do in the second leg.

"The message is simple -- you win together, and you lose together. PSG is a club with experience, so we will prepare for the return leg as is necessary.

"We wanted to get back to winning ways against Strasbourg and we did. There are other matches to come before thinking about Real."

Julian Draxler, Neymar, Angel Di Maria and Edinson Cavani (two) scored as PSG came from behind to beat Strasbourg to restore their 12-point lead at the Ligue 1 summit and Diarra played almost an hour.

Cavani, fresh from scoring his brace, told Canal+ of the need to stay together now more than ever after the opening defeat to Real.

"There was a bit of tension but that is normal," he said of Wednesday's game. "It is in the past now and we must leave it behind and keep working, together, in the knowledge that the only way to progress is to remain united and win as a team.

"We are together. We are a team and I think that top teams remain close during difficult moments -- it is only through working as a team that you can win important things."

Edinson Cavani scored twice as PSG held off Strasbourg.

Emery remains confident that PSG will reach the Champions League quarterfinals, despite their setback in Madrid, but refused to let the issue of the refereeing at Santiago Bernabeu go.

"The team is ready, despite Wednesday's result," he said. "I am certain that the second leg performance will be good.

"Everybody knows that we are stronger at home. It does not only depend on us, though -- the referee's decisions will also influence things."

Emery is looking forward to the Ligue 1 and Coupe de France doubleheader with bitter rivals Marseille and trip to Troyes in Le Championnat and feels that the pair of encounters with OM, in particular, will prepare PSG well for Real.

"Winning was important after Wednesday," he said. "The team is keeping a good pace at home and it will enable us to prepare for Marseille and Real, among the coming games, calmly.

"Real was mentioned in the dressing room. The players remember it, of course. That is normal. It was important to speak about the positive things, though.

"We need the supporters to understand that we need everybody. The three matches coming up are very important and we will be as concentrated as possible. Playing Marseille twice is good, they are very strong."

PSG are not in action again until next Sunday, which represents the first week of 2018 without more than one competitive match in any competition to play.

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


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