Champions League: Infirmary emptied, reunion with Cavani … what you need to know before Manchester United – PSG
• Paris finally sees its infirmary empty
Particularly affected by injuries since the start of the season, Paris Saint-Germain is experiencing its first thinning just before Manchester. “I think we can play with Layvin [Kurzawa], Keylor [Navas] and titular Marquinhos“, rejoiced Thomas tuchel at a press conference this Tuesday. Thilo Kehrer should also find a place on the bench, he who was not to return until January 2021 because of a pubalgia. Suspended against Leipzig, Presnel Kimpembe will also make a comeback.
The presence of Marco veratti at a press conference is also a very good omen for PSG, which should find its midfielder in a starting role for the first time in C1 this season. “We had a lot of problems but it’s over“, dared the Italian, a week after the statements of his trainer. The latter judged after the narrow victory against Leipzig that his team could not do better in the situation which was his, designating without mentioning the stunt of wounds that afflicted her.
• Ambitions in the game displayed despite crucial stakes
He had already smoothed his speech against Bordeaux, Thomas Tuchel seemed to give reporters the statements he needed to avoid reproducing the anger that was his a week earlier. No question of repeating that “if we had to play low against Manchester, [il] would do it again“. The German coach put water in his wine:”It was already the plan [de jouer haut avec le ballon contre Leipzig] but it was not possible for us to control the ball. Having the ball against Manchester is the best option for us. We will try to gain possession because it’s a style that gives a lot of confidence“.
Change of mood one week after Leipzig
“But beware, Man U is one of the best teams in Europe on the counterattack“, he added, as if to anticipate new criticisms in the event of a passive match. For Paris, taking 3 points at Old Trafford will put a lot of pressure on Leipzig for the round of 16 (the two teams are tied on points two days from the end of the group stage, editor’s note). If it is a real “group final“Tense, Marco Verratti assumes more than his coach’s ambition to play against the Red Devils. The Italian wants to build on the victory gleaned at Old Trafford in March 2019 (0-2):”We had a very good game there, we controlled the game and it’s very important to win. For me, that’s even the key. We must play possession of the ball with personality and not be afraid“.
• Reunion time with Cavani … and Rashford
Four days after having conceded a draw against a Bordeaux boosted by Yacine Adli and Hatem Ben Arfa (2-2), Paris will find an old acquaintance and not just any this Wednesday: Edinson Cavani. The Uruguayan, top scorer in the history of the capital club (200 units) could also experience his first tenure with the Red Devils, after having marked the spirits on Sunday. “He was decisive against Southampton (2 goals, 1 assist in the recovery 3-2, editor’s note), he showed his heart, his determination and his quality in the opposing area. It’s no surprise, we know him well“Thomas Tuchel said of him.
By choice or by forgetting, El Matador was not on the other hand cited by Marco Verratti when the Italian was asked about the dangers in the Red Devils. “I like Paul Pogba a lot and I hope he won’t start“, he had fun, also evoking Anthony Martial, Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford. It must be said that the last named has done a lot of misery to PSG in the Champions League during the last two clashes, scoring the goal of elimination in the round of 16 in 2019 (3-1) and that formalizing the defeat of October 20 last (2-1). “His last two performances have been really impressive. I met him three times, each time he was a mature and humble person. I like this kind of player“Tuchel said of him.
• The locker room with the cheek welded
After the humiliating defeat against Monaco (2-3), the worrying victory against Leipzig (1-0) and the tasteless draw against Bordeaux (2-2), Thomas Tuchel would have spoken in front of his players. A journalist said in front of him that he would have pointed out a “change of state of mind” in his players. “I am very surprised to see that you were in the locker room on Sunday morning. It’s not just a matter of state of mind. The situation is very complicated for a lot of reasons“, he dodged.
Only three months after its best run in the Champions League, PSG is unrecognizable in the game and the locker room which was displayed so tightly knit in August no longer seems so. Interviewed by the club website, Leandro paredes assures the contrary: “Maybe you feel like it’s not, but nothing has changed“. Marco Verratti, he does not deny internal discussions:”We talk to each other after each game. But what we say to each other in the locker room is not said in the press. It’s between us. You see a lot of criticism but it’s easy from the outside. We are the first to know when we play badly or when we play well“, defends the Italian.
• Kylian Mbappé still stuck in his scarcity of goals
Being top scorer in Ligue 1 does not necessarily guarantee to shine in the Champions League, at least not at the moment for Kylian Mbappé. The 2018 world champion is mired in a funny series of 8 C1 matches without scoring, a series that has lasted for a year now. “I only heard this statistic an hour ago and was very surprised. Kylian has everything to score, at all levels, and of course in the Champions League. [Ce match] is a great opportunity to end [à cette série], which is perhaps one of the reasons we only scored six points. It has everything to be decisive, experience and quality. We will do everything to push him to do the best possible“, reacted Thomas Tuchel on this subject.
• A dream scenario, another at risk
This group “final” can allow PSG to directly validate their ticket for the round of 16 of the Champions League. That would require winning at Old Trafford with a two-goal margin, or scoring at least three in the game, and at the same time, Leipzig not doing better than a draw in Istanbul. This would give the Parisians an advantage over the Mancuniens in their direct confrontation, as they obtained against the German formation.
In contrast, a defeat of the men of Thomas tuchel Tonight would qualify Paul Pogba’s teammates, and combined with RB Leipzig’s victory over Basaksehir, this would make the path to qualification very uncertain. It would be enough then for the Germans to obtain a draw at home on the last day against a MU already qualified to leave Paris in 3rd place, whatever its result at the Parc des Princes against the Istanbul club.