Julian Draxler insists Paris St Germain’s season is “not over” as they seek to regain their Ligue 1 title.
Last week’s Champions League elimination to Real Madrid ended PSG’s hopes of announcing themselves as a leading force on the continent and they are left to focus on recapturing the domestic prize they lost to Monaco last season after four straight wins.
They also have a Coupe de la Ligue final, against Monaco on March 31, and Coupe de France semi-final against Caen on their schedule.
And ahead of Sunday’s game at Nice, Draxler told the club’s website: “The season is not over, quite the contrary. We have some great matches to come to play for the title and potentially two finals.
“The Champions League was one of our big objectives for the season. Even though we were playing the holders and one of the best teams in the world, we were all very disappointed with our elimination.
“Last season we did not manage to win the Ligue 1 title, it is in our heart to get it back. It would be my first league title with Paris.”
Unai Emery’s side lead the table by 17 points and still have the chance to break their own record of 96 points in a Ligue 1 season, set two years ago.
“It’s a source of motivation,” said Draxler. “It’s already great to become champion but it’s even better to break records.”
PSG will be without the injured Neymar and suspended Thiago Motta at Nice but Marquinhos, Thomas Meunier, Javier Pastore and Giovanni Lo Celso are expected to be available despite minor injury concerns.
Emery will restore Alphonse Areola in goal after Kevin Trapp was given a rare league outing against Angers on Wednesday.
“We have two good goalkeepers,” said Emery. “Kevin deserved his chance on Wednesday because he has worked hard and he has the (Germany) national team to aim for.
“Sunday, we will continue with Alphonse. We are very happy with the two of them.
“I spoke with Javi Garcia, their coach. He suggested to me that Kevin play on Wednesday so that he will have rhythm for the Coupe de la Ligue final. Both will have chances to play.”
Nice lie seventh and are among at least four teams fighting for Europa League qualification – two points cover Nantes, Rennes and Montpellier.
Club president Jean-Pierre Rivere told ogcnice.com: “(We) hope to finish the season well, by trying to secure another European qualification. We aren’t the only ones battling for it, we have lots of competition for Europe.
“We have shown lots of inconsistency, with lots of good and bad runs. I hope that we have just begun another good period with the wins over Lille and Guingamp, and that they will continue until the end of the season.”
Defender Dante expects to face a “world-class” PSG side despite Neymar’s absence, but added: “We have our chances.
“It will be a very difficult match but we have confidence in ourselves.”