Mbappe, Cavani back as injuries ease up for PSG

By Sports Desk October 17, 2019

Paris Saint-Germain have been boosted by the return of Kylian Mbappe to their squad to face Nice, with Edinson Cavani also included.

The Ligue 1 champions were dealt injury blows during the international break as world-record signing Neymar and impressive midfielder Idrissa Gueye sustained hamstring issues.

But Thomas Tuchel can call on star attacker Mbappe again on Friday, with the World Cup winner available after a complication with his hamstring ahead of the previous match against Angers.

Mbappe had been out earlier in the campaign with a similar issue and had to withdraw from France duty during the international break.

Tuchel told a news conference on Thursday the 20-year-old has been "training normally" as he hoped to have him available.

"I am happy that we reached an agreement with the France national team because he couldn't play," Tuchel said. "On Monday, he trained by himself to keep coming back. He couldn't have played against Turkey.

"He now has a full week of training under his belt, but that's different, training with a small group of players, compared to a high-intensity match of football.

"You can't play when you're only 80 per cent. You need to be 100 per cent for these types of matches."

Mbappe was joined in the PSG squad by their record goalscorer Cavani, who has not played since August.

The Uruguay international - out of contract at the end of the season and linked to Juventus - is back following a hip injury.

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    Kylian Mbappe thanked Paris Saint-Germain's medical staff for getting him fit in time to play a starring role in the Champions League quarter-final win over Atalanta.

    Speaking two weeks ago, PSG head coach Thomas Tuchel said key man Mbappe required "a miracle" to recover from an ankle sprain sustained on July 24.

    But the France international was named among the substitutes on Wednesday and made a big impact from the bench in the final half an hour of the Ligue 1 champions' remarkable 2-1 triumph.

    Mbappe linked up with Neymar and set up fellow substitute Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting for a 93rd-minute winner, 149 seconds after Marquinhos cancelled out Mario Pasalic's opener. 

    After helping his side book a first semi-final appearance in the competition since 1995, the 21-year-old went on social media to praise the club's backroom staff.

    "You don't talk to me about pain," he tweeted. "A big thank you to the medical staff for getting me back on my feet, no one believed it except us. 

    "Congratulations to the whole group, we want to get this one."

    PSG will face either RB Leipzig or Atletico Madrid in Tuesday's semi-final at the Estadio da Luz.

  • Neymar and Mbappe will stay at PSG – Al-Khelaifi Neymar and Mbappe will stay at PSG – Al-Khelaifi

    Neymar and Kylian Mbappe will stay at Paris Saint-Germain, according to president Nasser Al-Khelaifi.

    The stars helped PSG to an incredible come-from-behind 2-1 win over Atalanta in the Champions League quarter-finals in Lisbon on Wednesday.

    Contracted at PSG until 2022, Neymar and Mbappe have both been linked with moves away from the Ligue 1 champions.

    However, Al-Khelaifi said the pair would stay at PSG as he lauded their class.

    "Ney, with Kylian, he's one of the best players in the world. He's in the top three," he told RMC Sport, via L'Equipe.

    "Ney was the man of the match [against Atalanta]. He had a great match. He and Kylian are not going to leave. They are going to stay."

    Behind to a Mario Pasalic goal, PSG left it late to overcome Atalanta, Marquinhos equalising in the 90th minute before Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting netted the winner three minutes later.

    Al-Khelaifi was proud of PSG, who are aiming to win their first Champions League title and face either RB Leipzig or Atletico Madrid at the semi-final stage.

    "It's a very special day for us, it's magnificent. It's something special, we need that to change mentalities," he said. 

    "I am very proud, I thank the players, the staff. It was not easy after stopping the Championship [due to the coronavirus pandemic]. 

    "We showed a great mentality, great players. I am very happy. 

    "This is the first time that we have reached the semi-finals [since Qatar Sports Investments took over in 2011]. It's historic."

  • Tuchel: Imagine what I could have done celebrating with two legs! Tuchel: Imagine what I could have done celebrating with two legs!

    Thomas Tuchel insisted Paris Saint-Germain deserved their late 2-1 victory over Atalanta and quipped his celebrations after the winner would have been even wilder had he not been on crutches.

    PSG booked a place in the semi-finals of the Champions League for the first time since 1994-95 with a remarkable comeback win in Lisbon on Wednesday thanks to two late goals.

    Marquinhos prodded home in the 90th minute before Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting completed the turnaround 149 seconds later for the French champions, who had trailed to Mario Pasalic's strike for more than an hour.

    Tuchel broke a bone in his foot during a training session last week but still clenched both fists and let out a huge roar when the winning goal hit the net, potentially saving his job at the Parc des Princes in the process.

    Speaking to RMC Sport after the match, the German coach said: "Imagine what I could have done with two legs! It is our 50th birthday today and we will not forget this day. We are really happy to be in the semi-finals. 

    "It is a historic season, with four titles and a Champions League semi-final."

    Neymar insisted after the match he never doubted PSG would progress, though Tuchel admits he was fearing the worst when a goal down so late. 

    "I doubted after 88 minutes of play, I was realistic, but we always thought about scoring," he said. "I told my assistants: 'if we draw, we will make a difference soon after'. We had a great game and the qualification is deserved.

    "It was a bit of luck with those late goals but if you look at the whole game, it's deserved."

    Tuchel's second-half changes made a major impact on the game, with Mbappe setting up fellow substitute Choupo-Moting for the winner.

    PSG also overturned a 2-1 first-leg deficit in their last-16 win over Borussia Dortmund and Tuchel praised the spirit of his players to once again hit back when the pressure was on.

    "The bench players were exceptional today, with a good frame of mind," he said. "The mentality has always been good, the players are together. 

    "We have already had a comeback against Dortmund. In this competition, we must have a little luck, and now we are here. 

    "Congratulations to the players. Today was about Choupo-Moting – he was exceptional."

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