Tuchel thrilled with impact of 'super reliable' Icardi at PSG

By Sports Desk January 11, 2020

Paris Saint-Germain coach Thomas Tuchel is overjoyed at the impact Mauro Icardi has had since joining on loan from Inter.

Icardi left Inter under something of a cloud, as his relationship with the club was said to have become increasingly strained after a frustrating season in which he scored only 11 Serie A goals.

He was then frozen out by new coach Antonio Conte and the striker eventually secured an exit on September 1, joining PSG on an initial loan deal for the 2019-20 campaign.

Since moving to Paris, the 26-year-old has found his mojo once again, scoring nine times in 11 Ligue 1 matches, helping to form a formidable front four with compatriot Angel Di Maria, Kylian Mbappe and Neymar.

A hat-trick in the 6-1 Coupe de la Ligue win over Saint-Etienne on Wednesday was Icardi's most recent contribution, taking him to nine goals in his past 10 matches across all competitions, though Tuchel did not wish to discuss the purchase option that is reportedly set at €65million.

"I'm very impressed with Mauro Icardi," Tuchel told reporters ahead of Sunday's Ligue 1 meeting with Monaco.

"I met him here for the first time. The guy is super reliable and very, very professional. He understands football tactically, works defensively and is very, very efficient.

"His work and his reliability for the team is very impressive, but I don't want to talk about the purchase option."

The attacking unit of Icardi, Neymar, Mbappe and Di Maria has been dubbed the 'Fantastic Four', and Tuchel is impressed by their thirst for work, which he believes is vital for their tactical system to succeed.

"We are more reliable and beefier than in 2019," Tuchel said. "Our team has matured with the recruitment of the pre-season.

"There is a good frame of mind. We have a great team with healthy competition and I want to maintain this good level.

"We attack together and we defend together. This is perhaps one of the most beautiful things in football. A team cannot win with five players. The best level requires playing as a team.

"If you want to play 4-4-2, there are a lot of things to do and spaces to protect. Everyone has to do what is necessary and the players are doing it at the moment.

"With 4-4-2, the sides have to be more careful about defensive replacement than when playing in 4-3-3.

"I want players who are free to attack, but who also protect the spaces. I'm asking of my offensive players that they try to chase the ball in order to achieve a high pressure and recover the ball quickly.

"We have players capable of doing this counter-pressing. Neymar is smart enough to do it, Mauro Icardi or Angel Di Maria and Pablo Sarabia, too. We always find the best possible mix for us to keep this balance."

Related items

  • Anything can happen in El Clasico – former Real Madrid captain Hierro Anything can happen in El Clasico – former Real Madrid captain Hierro

    Anything can happen when Real Madrid host Barcelona in El Clasico on Sunday, according to Fernando Hierro. 

    Barca head into the clash at the Santiago Bernabeu top of LaLiga, having capitalised on Madrid drawing with Celta Vigo and losing to Levante in their previous two matches to go two points clear. 

    Following a 2-1 home loss in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie with Manchester City on Wednesday, Zinedine Zidane's side have won just one of their past five games in all competitions. 

    While the form book therefore suggests Barca have the upper hand, Hierro – a five-time LaLiga and three-time Champions League winner with Madrid – believes it is impossible to anticipate the outcome of any match between the clubs. 

    "The most important thing, given the rivalry, is the joy everyone feels: the club, the fans. And how it really gives you a boost. But anything can happen in El Clasico, as we've seen," said Hierro, courtesy of LaLiga. 

    "We lost when we were LaLiga champions, we lost at home when we virtually had LaLiga wrapped up, we've won in Barcelona when nobody expected us to. There are no guarantees in El Clasico. 

    "The standings don't matter; your form doesn't matter. It doesn't matter if you're top of the table, or if you're LaLiga champions. 

    "They're special games. Anything can happen, and that's fantastic." 

  • Former Waterhouse, Jamaica player Irvino English shot dead on Ash Wednesday Former Waterhouse, Jamaica player Irvino English shot dead on Ash Wednesday

    Former Reggae Boy and Waterhouse midfielder, Irvino English, was killed in a drive-by shooting in Waterhouse on Wednesday night.

  • Ramsey 'confident' over Juventus Champions League progression Ramsey 'confident' over Juventus Champions League progression

    Aaron Ramsey remains "confident" Juventus will make it through to the Champions League quarter-finals despite Wednesday's loss to Lyon.

    The Serie A champions succumbed to a lacklustre 1-0 loss in France, leaving them with an uphill battle when Lyon visit Turin for the last-16 second-leg tie next month.

    Coach Maurizio Sarri lamented his side's sluggish play in possession, with Juve needing a swift response as they host Inter in a crunch title clash on Sunday.

    Former Arsenal midfielder Ramsey concedes Juve were well short of their best in Lyon, but he believes they will turn it around on home soil.

    "We knew it was going to be difficult, but we didn't play the match we wanted," he told the club's official website.

    "We have a lot of work to do, but I am confident, because we are a united group. This is only the first half, now we work hard. 

    "Let's focus on ourselves, and do better: starting on Sunday with Inter.

    "For the return leg we want to secure a result in front of the fans."

    Juve were last crowned champions of Europe in 1996 and have lost five finals since then.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.