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PSG-OM: “I’m not afraid of losing”, assures Thomas Tuchel

On the eve of the meeting against OM at the Parc des Princes, the PSG coach agreed that PSG were not in the best position to face the Riviera club. Not enough to make him fear defeat, especially as some executives like Neymar, Di Maria, Navas and Paredes should make their return.

Would it be a risk to start your recruit, Alessandro Florenzi, and in what role do you imagine him?

THOMAS TUCHEL. Maybe he will play because it’s an important game. We will wait and see how the training goes today and tomorrow. But he played with the Italian selection… He is a player who has offensive qualities, that gives us more possibilities. But now is not the time to change tactics with him. You can use your offensive force on your right back position. I really hope that we will find all the qualities that Alessandro demonstrated at AS Roma. He was one of the best at this position in Serie A. I like his mentality and his energy on the pitch. Hope he is ready to play. He adapts quickly.

The clasico is not a match like any other. Is it easy to approach with the whole context?

It’s a great game, that doesn’t change. I’m just very surprised that a match like this is scheduled for day 3. A match of this type should be scheduled for October or November, when the teams are at their best and are physically ready.

Who is favorite?

We are still favorites. But it doesn’t change anything for us that some think that OM can be. Whatever the context, we always have to show the best on the pitch. We are probably not in the ideal conditions to play the best possible game. But like before Lens, I’m happy we’re playing. I love my team. But we have to accept that we are not in the same context as the five previous games, which were five finals (Editor’s note: the two Cup finals and the three Champions League matches). We do not have a choice. I am expecting a game like in Lens, difficult, against a team will have the advantage of being prepared. But we have quality and we are competitive. We are going to give everything, our supporters want us to win.

Which players will be making a comeback?

Neymar, Paredes, Di Maria, Navas… Marquinhos, Icardi and Mbappé are not with the group. Everyone else has returned to training. If I ask Ney, Angel, Keylor or Leandro Paredes for their opinion, they want to play, that’s clear. But we will decide tomorrow, if they start or end the match. We have to use the entire game to win. If there is not too much risk, we will try.

Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting will he extend his contract with Paris?

This is one of the possibilities. It all depends on whether he wants to stay and accepts the club’s proposal. My opinion of him has not changed, if he accepts the same role he occupied, he can be a good player for us. His role would be the same and if he accepts it, it would be good if he stayed. If he has other options, he must think about it.

PSG-OM are under great pressure. Aren’t you worried about being the first coach in a long time to lose a clasico?

I am not afraid at all. I’m not afraid of losing a game. It’s football. Being afraid of losing is the best way to see our series stop. I can understand that some teams think this is the best time to beat us. It is possible that this is the case. But we played much worse matches than the one against Lens, where we made the difference with our individual qualities. In Lens, we had a good match given the circumstances. We only lost one point because we did not deserve the victory but the draw. But I am not afraid.

Given the adversity, can you imagine anticipating the return of some absent?

They have qualities with Payet, Thauvin… It’s a very strong team with a great coach. It’s a great team in France, but we won’t take any risks with anyone. We will make our decisions, as if it were another team. Whether we play OM, Nice or Metz, it’s the same. We cannot adapt our starting eleven to our opponent.

How did you welcome the Marseille celebrations after your defeat to Bayern in the Champions League final?

Last year, they had already celebrated our defeat against Manchester United. This is not news. And then that does not interest me. If you manage to celebrate the defeat of another team, it means above all that you have nothing to celebrate.

Has the international break changed the spirit displayed by Paris during Final 8?

No, everyone is still concerned. Everyone, of course, was a little worried (Editor’s note: because of the Covid) because we are a tight-knit group. But it didn’t reach our state of mind. We accepted the defeat at Lens because we know that it can happen in these circumstances. We hate to lose. But it’s football, it wasn’t a cup match or a final. We just lost a point. It’s the best thing to replay right away. We have to adapt to the context and find solutions. We are strong at the Park, we have every reason to be positive.

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