In less than 24-hours, Paris Saint-Germain will walk out onto the pitch at Jan Breydel Stadium with a chance to take a commanding lead in Group A of the UEFA Champions League.
Club Brugge won’t go down quietly though. On Matchday 2, we saw what they’re capable of at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium where they went up 2-0 in the first half against Real Madrid and should have gone on to win if not for some dodgy officiating.
On Monday, Thomas Tuchel took to the podium for his pre-match press conference and talked about the challenges the Belgium side will present. If PSG can handle their business in a tough environment and record their third win in a row in the group stage, they would have nine total points and the most that a second-place team in their group could have is four. It would all but punch their ticket to the knockout stage with home matches against Brugge and Galatasaray still to come.
Tuchel also talked about the 20-man squad available to him Tuesday night. The biggest news is that Kylian Mbappé is still being closely monitored and isn’t available to play a full 90 minutes. The German seemed to get a little agitated when asked about Mbappé, Mauro Icardi, and Edinson Cavani and who he prefers to have on the pitch.
Tuchel’s full comments are below. Make sure to follow us on Twitter @PSGTalk for more of our coverage of Club Brugge vs. Paris Saint-Germain.
Have you got a lineup in mind for tomorrow? Are there any uncertainties ahead of tomorrow’s game?
Well no, there are no uncertainties. We’ve come here with 17 players plus three goalkeepers as per usual. I don’t have any doubts or uncertainties in my mind but I think it’s a bit too much for Kylian to play a whole 90 minutes so we’re going to have to come up with a solution and we’ll see if he can either start or finish the game. The same goes for Edinson Cavani. All of the other players can play 90 minutes. I have a few ideas of course in mind as regards to my lineup but I don’t have the ultimate 11 players and lineup for tomorrow because we have another training session before the game and I want to use that last impression.
Tomorrow evening, Cavani and Icardi will be available. What are you going to do with these two players tomorrow and the last game you had Di Maria, Mbappé, and Cavani on the pitch what did it change in terms of dynamics and attacking force to have these three players at the same time on the pitch.
This is something that I don’t really put much thought in. I don’t rank the players. I think more in terms of solutions for the team. What is the best solution for the team for that given game? It was against Nice last game and now it’s against Brugge. So that’s it really as far as I see things. It’s not about ranking players, #1, #2, #3, it’s about finding the right solution for the right game. Right now we have Kylian and Edinson and it’s fantastic that they are back with us. They’ve been away for a very long time and we’ve missed them and other players have seized that opportunity. They’ve used their playing time to show that they can be a part of this team and we’re stronger for it.
But as I mentioned, now we need to think about the best solution for every single game, game after game. It’s not the time right now to think about anything else. Don’t forget, all players are different and they bring something different to the team. If you play with Neymar it changes everything. If you play without him you have to find other solutions. So of course, without Kylian, Edinson Cavani, Neymar for several weeks on end of course we’re lacking in quality, we’re lacking experience, but we also have other players who have showed that they can play with the team, come up with solutions, and play at a top-level and our confidence has grown and I believe that too much is being said about individual players and it’s always the same players that you talk about but it’s not that really.
We’re playing an away game in the European Cup and it’s not just about individual players. It’s not about minutes and solutions and issues and who’s #1 and who’s #2. That’s not the matter. It’s PSG against Brugge. Brugge has got a fantastic team and that’s the only thing that I have in my mind. I’m not thinking about who’s #1, Cavani, Mbappé, or Icardi. It’s PSG against Brugge and that’s it.
Regarding the game away at Galatasaray. It’s true that the game was really difficult because of the supporters but tomorrow will it be more complicated to play Brugge because they’re a better team in spite of their not being the same level of support in the stadium?
For me, the Champions League, playing away is always complicated. It’s the biggest challenge in Europe. This is why we hold a lot of respect for Brugge. It’s a team that has a great deal of energy. They play a very brave brand of football so I expect a big, physical challenge. I also expect a team that’s going to be pressing very high and attacking high up on the pitch. We will have to find solutions under that kind of pressure to find a way out and move forward. Sometimes, we will just have to fight and protect our goal and it will be a very intense game for sure because Brugge is a very brave team and they play with a lot of energy.
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