Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Mbappe needs a ‘miracle’ to be fit for Atalanta’s tie – Tuchel

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Paris Saint-Germain French forward Kylian Mbappe reacts after injury during the Coupe de France final soccer match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Saint-Etienne (ASSE) on July 24, 2020, at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, outside Paris (Photo by FRANCK FIFE / AFP)

Kylian Mbappe requires “a miracle” for a chance to play in the Paris Saint-Germain Champions League quarterfinals against Atalanta, according to boss Thomas Tuchel.

The France international sprained his ankle in last week’s French Cup final victory over Saint-Etienne and explorations on Monday revealed that he will miss about three weeks.

PSG face Atalanta in a one-leg tie in Lisbon on August 12 and Tuchel, while not ruling out Mbappe entirely, acknowledges that he is almost certain to be without the striker.

“We still have hope and every day counts for a miracle,” Tuchel said at a press conference ahead of the PSG League Cup final with Lyon on Friday.

“But tomorrow we will be without him and his absence will have an influence on us. I hope a solution can be found. “

Thilo Kehrer and Colin Dagba are expected to lose to Lyon, while Juan Bernat remains hesitant, but Marco Verratti will be hoping to win a retirement from the team.

Tuchel left Verratti on the bench for 75 minutes last week, preferring Leandro Paredes alongside Idrissa Gueye, and has hinted that he can re-choose a 4-4-2 on Friday.

“It was a very difficult decision to leave Marco on the bench, but I felt I deserved to let Idrissa and Paredes play together after the Borussia Dortmund result,” he said.

“If we keep our 4-4-2, we can do it with Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, Angel Di Maria or Pablo Sarabia.

“We can make the decision tomorrow. I want to wait until after the final training session. “

PSG have won the Ligue Cup a record eight times, including five seasons in a row before last year, and are strong favorites to beat Ligue 1 rivals Lyon.

But Tuchel says it would be a mistake to rule out Friday’s opponents, who led Juventus 1-0 in their last Champions League game, and look to the clash with Atalanta.

“Tomorrow will be a great challenge against an opponent at the Champions League level,” he said.

“We won a tough match against Saint-Etienne and this is now another step forward against an ongoing team to eliminate Juventus.”

“We cannot prepare to face Atalanta yet. I don’t know of another team that plays like them. All we can do is work on our mental state and how our hunger to win matches.

“That will prepare us well if we get a positive result against Lyon.”

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