Paris Saint-Germain manager Thomas Tuchel isn’t short on ways to describe how he felt after Manchester United overturned a 2-0 deficit in last season’s UEFA Champions League at the Parc des Princes to advance on away goals.
In an interview earlier this season, Tuchel said that the 3-1 loss to Manchester United in the return leg “felt like a car accident, like running through the green lights and get hit from the side.”
At his pre-match press conference ahead of PSG’s Champions League match against Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday, Tuchel was asked about the mental toll the losses to Manchester United and FC Barcelona have had on the team and whether he thinks the answer is only sport-related.
“No, it is never 100 percent about sport…But right after the game against Manchester, I said to the team that we need to face the situation again because it will show that we are there again.”
— Jonathan Johnson (@Jon_LeGossip) February 17, 2020
“We can lose terribly, we can lose strangely, as it happens to us, we are all very sad. I was dead mentally afterward, but in the end, it is sport. It is not more than that. It is important to accept that. We have to come back. It is absolutely essential to come back with joy, with a smile on our faces.”
Well, PSG are here again in the Champions League and the pressure, attention, and expectations have been ratcheted up. How Tuchel and his squad handles it all will determine whether this will be a special season or the same old PSG that crashes out far too early.
Working in Tuchel’s favor is a full squad of relatively good health. Neymar Jr. returns from injury after missing PSG’s four previous matches and should start against Dortmund barring any setbacks in training on Monday.
With Neymar, Kylian Mbappé, and the rest of PSG’s star-studded lineup, Tuchel should be able to lead his team past a Dortmund side without Marco Reus and Julian Brandt. He just has to prove they’re mentally tough enough to execute under the bright lights with the world watching.
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