Luis Enrique feels PSG have strength in depth to cope ahead of testing run

By Sports Desk September 14, 2023

Paris St Germain coach Luis Enrique intends to take things one match at a time as his squad prepare for a testing run of fixtures through the start of their Champions League campaign.

Nice head to the Parc des Princes on Friday night before PSG open their Group F schedule at home to Borussia Dortmund and then host arch rivals Marseille.

It is a run of games which looks set to stretch the PSG squad following on the back of an international break, during which Kylian Mbappe suffered an injury scare.

Enrique, though, feels PSG have enough strength in depth to see them through.

“We are focused on one match, the next one against Nice. We don’t think about those who come next,” Enrique told a press conference.

“We are used to having weeks with three matches – we have a squad with two or three players per position at the top level.

“It is vital to manage that well if we want to achieve our goals. Every player is ready, they will all play and will all be important in the season which will be long.”

Mbappe missed France’s defeat against Germany on Tuesday because of a minor knee injury, which PSG said was a patellar tendon problem, but was able to take part in training again on Thursday.

“He felt uncomfortable, we will discuss tomorrow to find out if he will be able to play against Nice, but I think he will be ready,” said former Barcelona and Spain boss Enrique.

Midfielder Fabian Ruiz faces a check on his calf, while forward Marco Asensio also picked up a foot problem while on international duty with Spain and is expected to be out until at least the end of the month.

PSG will climb above leaders Monaco with a victory on Friday night having recorded two wins and two draws from their opening four matches.

Nice are also unbeaten in Ligue 1 so far, having opened the new season with three draws before beating Strasbourg ahead of the international break.

Enrique said: “Nice is a team that works a lot. They take few risks and are courageous with and without the ball.

“They will be a difficult opponent, but we want to start this series of matches with a success.

“We want to impose our style of play, but our next opponents will want to do that too.”

Ahead of Friday’s game, PSG are planning a send off for Marco Verratti, with the veteran Italy midfielder having signed for Qatari side Al-Arabi, ending his 11-year stay with the French club.

Enrique said: “Marco Verratti will be there tomorrow before the match, this is the opportunity for all the supporters to say goodbye.

“He has been a very important player for the club over the last decade. I think it will be a special moment for him and his family.”

Nice boss Francesco Farioli hopes to be able to welcome France midfielder Khephren Thuram back into the side following injury.

“He is one of our possible game changers, someone who can change a match and improve our level in a very important way,” Farioli said at a press conference.

“Our goal is to bring him back to his best level. He is someone important for the club. We give it attention, time and we want to give it everything we can.

“Tomorrow, he will definitely be there and I think that what is more, it will be the ideal stage for him to express his qualities and help us greatly.”

Alexis Claude-Maurice (knee) and Antoine Mendy (calf) are Nice’s only absentees.

Goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu has been training with the club, who continue to assess the Italian international’s fitness following a ruptured Achilles tendon last season.

“Salvatore can be a great addition for the club. He has knowledge of Ligue 1,” Fariol said. “We are currently evaluating his physical condition, not how he is as a player.”

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