‘They Celebrated the Victory as If They Had Won the Champions League Final’ – Herrera on How Dortmund’s Antics Motivated PSG

Like many of his Paris Saint-Germain teammates, Ander Herrera is under quarantine as COVID-19 continues to take its toll in Europe. Recently, the Spain international spoke with Canal Plus (via Culture PSG) about a number of topics.

The French outlet began the interview by asking Herrera about his quarantine situation with his family. Then the conversation turned to how he’s keeping in touch with the rest of his teammates.

Then comes the juicy part of the interview; the behind the scenes story as to what motivated PSG after their 2-1 loss in the first leg to Borussia Dortmund in the UEFA Champions League. Hererra touches on how the German club and the players talked too much after their win and as a result, lit a fire under the Parisians.

As you know, PSG won the second leg at the Parc des Princes to advance to the quarter-finals 3-2 on aggregate. The home victory led to many PSG players mocking the “Zen” goal celebration of Erling Haaland. Many in the media took issue with that but as Herrera explains, there was a reason for it.

Canal+: How does he live the situation?

Herrera: It’s going well. I feel very good. Fortunately, the family is doing well too. I don’t have people in my family who have symptoms. It is a very difficult situation, but I am fine.

Canal+: Want to put into perspective on football?

Herrera: For me, football is the most important thing of the least important things. For us, football is our life but not for everyone. We must continue to do what the government requests.

Canal+: What a player does when he cannot play football

Herrera: We have to listen to the recommendations of club staff. I bought a bike that I have here at home, and I try to do all the exercises that the club gives me. You have to continue like this, try to eat in the best possible way, stay positive, and be ready when football resumes. (…) I know that the staff does a lot for the players and I would like to thank everyone because they are at home like us, they feel bad like us, but they think of us all the time.

Canal+: Still in touch with your teammates?

Herrera: We have the WhatsApp group, and we speak almost every day, but logically I have (easier) contact with the Spanish and the players who speak Spanish because it’s easier for me … how is it going, family? What do you think of the situation? Are we going to play or not? Lots of things, but it’s still hypothetical.

Canal+: What about Brazilians?

Herrera: I understand that, when this period started, they left (in Brazil) because, when you are at home in your country with the family, you feel better. Maybe they have a few sick people in the family, that’s normal, but I know they are ready to come back if we need them.

Canal+: In touch with Tuchel?

Herrera: Not directly with him, he sent a message to all the players. We talked a lot with the physical trainer. He has given a lot for everyone and, really, the club is always attentive every day to know if we need things. It is important in our situation.

Canal+: Ready to lower your salary?

Herrera: Of course, I think we have to be sensitive to the global situation. We must be sensitive to the situation of club staff; I have already spoken with Leonardo. I’ll give an example: we have Accor, but all the hotels are closed, we must be sensitive to Nike because all the stores are closed. The club cannot sell tickets to the game. They must be given time to work and to recover this time. We have to be sensitive to world football. And all clubs and players, I think we think the same way.

Canal+: How much lower?

Herrera: It is the captain who must speak with the club, he will speak with us afterward, and we will discuss. I think the situation will be easy because we think the same way. We must lead by example.

Canal+: PSG / Borussia Dortmund, exceptional?

Herrera: Yes, it was magnificent. I remember after the match in Dortmund. They celebrated the victory as if they had won the Champions League final. This situation gave a lot of strength to the club. I remember that Neymar did a lot for the club during this period. We gathered to eat at his place. He was very concentrated. He put everyone with him, so when I see that journalists say that he does not think about PSG, I see what he has done during this period, and it is incredible.

Canal+: German roomers after the outward journey?

Herrera: After the defeat, we said together that we shouldn’t talk. We had to work, we didn’t have to take photos, we didn’t have to post on Instagram, we had to play the match, and we only had to think about the day when we had to play. And I think that’s why several players stayed after the match. I don’t do it because I didn’t think like that. I was very, very happy.

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Tags Ander Herrera Borussia Dortmund Champions League Erling Braut Haaland Leonardo Thomas Tuchel
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