Tuchel Press Conference: Classique Is Like a Champions League Game

Ahead of Sunday’s clash between Paris Saint-Germain and Olympique de Marseille at the Parc des Princes, manager Thomas Tuchel stepped up to the podium to face the media and answer questions about his team.

At the press conference, Tuchel announced that Idrissa Gueye, Thilo Kehrer, Thomas Meunier, and Neymar Jr. will all be out of the squad tomorrow due to injury. There was some good news on the injury front. Ander Herrera trained well and will be in the squad and Julian Draxler is ready to return after a lengthy absence due to injury.

Tuchel’s 18-man team will look to extend the club’s impressive streak over their rivals, which dates back to 2011 when OM last beat PSG. If his comments are anything to go by, the former Borussia Dortmund manager understands how important the fixture is to his supporters.

“We’re definitely expecting a special atmosphere tomorrow. It will be like a big European night or a French Cup semi-final,” Tuchel said. “It’s one of these special games, one of these fixtures with a long history in France.

Surprisingly, Tuchel was asked about comments made by Marseille manager André Villas-Boas who said that the rivalry between his team and PSG isn’t the same as Real Madrid/FC Barcelona because the two French teams aren’t competing on the same level (financially).

“If I was the coach of Marseille, I would probably say the same thing to balance expectations out,” Tuchel said.

The German manager went on to say that Le Classique it doesn’t matter where PSG and OM sit in the table, it’s a standalone game where anything can happen.

“It’s a match that’s a bit like the Champions League or a knockout game in the French Cup,” Tuchel said. “It’s the kind of game where anything can happen. It doesn’t really matter where you sit in the table.”

If that doesn’t get you excited for Sunday, I don’t know what will.

Regarding Kylian Mbappé, who is coming off his first career hat-trick in the UEFA Champions League, Tuchel wasn’t prepared to say whether the Frenchman could start but that a decision will be made on Sunday.

The same goes for right-back Colin Dagba who returns from injury just as Meunier goes out with one. With Herrera back in the lineup, it’s possible Tuchel could use the former Manchester United man at right-back as he did previously this season.

PSG’s attack was a hot-button issue at Tuchel’s press conference as well. The manager admitted that Edinson Cavani is frustrated at the lack of playing time but that the Uruguayan understands why the decision has been made to keep him out.

“We’ve talked so I know that [Cavani] feels disappointed but he knows it’s complicated for me to give him some minutes,” Tuchel said. “He’s remaining patient and he has the right state of mind. I’m going to try and let him play for a few minutes because he needs to start playing and get back into the swing of things and become an important player for us once again.”

Regarding Cavani’s potential partnership with Mauro Icardi and whether or not he has a hierarchy when it comes to the attack force, Tuchel appeared to get quite agitated.

“Look, it doesn’t work like this. There is no hierarchy,” Tuchel said. “I don’t have a table in my office where I put ‘he’s number 1, he’s number 2, he’s number 3.'”

Tuchel went on to explain that he deals with current circumstances he can’t just start players coming off of injury because their name is “Edinson Cavani.”

“It’s important not to interrupt the flow of confidence for Mauro, Edi, Kylian, Angel, for Neymar, for all these players,” Tuchel said. “It’s always difficult for me to think about how confident they’re feeling and keep this confidence alive while finding the right solution for the team.”

The life of a PSG manager is not easy. Have multiple world-class attacking options is great but when they’re all healthy and clicking, it’s difficult to sit any one of them down. Tuchel didn’t dismiss the idea of playing Cavani and Icardi together and even joked that we may see it during Sunday’s match.

No matter who is on the pitch against Marseille, the match should be competitive. PSG are on their third match in eight days after an international break and fatigue could be an issue in the second half considering the number of injuries plaguing the team.

We’ll have more on this match throughout the day so be sure to check back and follow us on Twitter @PSGTalk.

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Tags Ander Herrera Angel Di Maria Colin Dagba Edinson Cavani Idrissa Gueye Kylian Mbappé Ligue 1 Marseille Mauro Icardi Neymar Thilo Kehrer Thomas Meunier Thomas Tuchel
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