Tuchel not focused on 'very difficult' Atalanta clash just yet

By Sports Desk July 12, 2020

Paris Saint-Germain head coach Thomas Tuchel expects a tough Champions League clash against Atalanta, but his focus is elsewhere for now.

Around 5,000 fans were in attendance as PSG thrashed Le Havre 9-0 in a friendly on Sunday.

PSG have been drawn to face Atalanta in the Champions League quarter-finals, but have a Coupe de France final against Saint-Etienne and Coupe de la Ligue decider against Lyon prior to that.

Tuchel said he knew PSG would be tested by Atalanta in Lisbon in August, but he is focused on domestic matters.

"It will be difficult but it's not a surprise because we will play a quarter-final. There are eight teams that want to win this competition. Every team can win their three games," the PSG coach said.

"It will be a very difficult game [against Atalanta], it will be very tough. They have many qualities. We have seen that when they played against Juventus [on Saturday]. It is a balanced and offensive team. It is a very physical team. But now, we can't think about that.

"Our challenge is to arrive in Lisbon with two titles. Now we are going to prepare our game against Saint-Etienne. It's the only game that is in my head right now. Then, we will think about Lyon. Then I think we will have 12 days to get ready for our game against Atalanta. We have to go step by step. The first step will be our game against Saint-Etienne."

PSG will be without Edinson Cavani (free agent), Thomas Meunier (Borussia Dortmund) and Tanguy Kouassi (Bayern Munich) for the remainder of the Champions League after the trio departed.

Tuchel said it made life harder for PSG, but he urged his players to push on.

"I am sad that we have lost three key players for this competition – Tanguy, Edi and Thomas Meunier," he said.

"That makes things harder for us. PSG need qualities and a great squad. But all the players did good [against Le Havre] and we have to keep going.

"We all have good relationships. We are ready to continue. Today was a good start."

Neymar, Mauro Icardi and Pablo Sarabia scored braces against Le Havre, while Kylian Mbappe, Idrissa Gueye and Arnaud Muinga were also on the scoresheet.

Related items

  • Retired Cech named in Chelsea's Premier League squad Retired Cech named in Chelsea's Premier League squad

    Chelsea have named retired goalkeeper Petr Cech in their 25-man squad for the Premier League season.

    Cech retired in 2019, having spent four seasons with Arsenal following his departure from Chelsea in 2015.

    After his retirement, Cech – who spent 11 years as a player at Stamford Bridge – returned to Chelsea as their technical and sporting adviser. 

    However, in a surprising twist, Chelsea have named the 38-year-old in their squad as "emergency cover" for the goalkeeper position.

    In a statement, Chelsea noted this was a "precautionary step due to the unprecedented conditions currently caused by the COVID-19 crisis".

    Cech will be a non-contract player.

    Chelsea signed Edouard Mendy from Rennes in the transfer window, with Kepa Arrizabalaga's poor form having continued into the new campaign. Willy Caballero is Frank Lampard's other goalkeeping option.

  • Atleti boss Simeone slips comfortably back into underdog role for Bayern showdown Atleti boss Simeone slips comfortably back into underdog role for Bayern showdown

    Diego Simeone has no issue with his Atletico Madrid side being considered underdogs once more when they take on European champions Bayern Munich.

    Simeone's Atleti have generally revelled in taking on the continent's elite, most recently when they stunned Liverpool at Anfield at the last-16 stage of last season's Champions League.

    Indeed, being tagged as favourites has not always seemed to rest as easily with Los Colchoneros, as was the case when RB Leipzig handed them a 2-1 defeat in the quarter-finals last time around.

    Speaking at a pre-match news conference, Simeone said he had no complaints over his side still being viewed as outsiders after proving to be a force in Europe over the past decade.

    "The truth is that we do not stop to listen to what may come from outside," he said.

    "We are on the way to continue progressing, to be consistent in the game, to be solid as a team and we will play against an important rival, trying to take the game [to a position] where we can do damage.

    "This will be the third time we face Bayern since 2016. It’s exciting to face one of the best sides in the world.

    "We have to work well as a team and we’ll try to take the game in the direction we want it to go."

    Simeone and his players will have to do so without injured stars Diego Costa, Jose Gimenez, Saul Niguez and Sime Vrsaljko.

    Nevertheless, experienced midfielder Koke insists they are targeting victory at the Allianz Arena.

    "Whenever we go to any field we go out to win," Koke said. "We do not look to see if we are going to draw.

    "Regardless of the competition, even a friendly one. We will try here tomorrow."

    Asked whether the Liverpool victory set a precedent in that regard, the Spain international replied: "They are different games. We have the ability to hurt Bayern with intensity and being aggressive.

    "It is different, but they are coming off a great streak. We will try to be the first ones to make them lose."

  • Wijnaldum slams 'unacceptable' Everton after Van Dijk injury Wijnaldum slams 'unacceptable' Everton after Van Dijk injury

    Liverpool's Georginio Wijnaldum has blasted Everton's conduct as "completely unacceptable" following injuries to Virgil van Dijk and Thiago Alcantara sustained in Saturday's Merseyside derby.

    Van Dijk is likely to miss most of the campaign after suffering anterior cruciate ligament damage following a wild challenge from Jordan Pickford in the 2-2 draw at Goodison Park.

    With Van Dijk having been flagged offside, Everton's goalkeeper did not receive any punishment for the tackle, while the Football Association confirmed on Monday that Pickford would not face retrospective action.

    Premier League leaders Everton did subsequently have a player sent off, with Richarlison seeing red for a lunge on Thiago late on, and the former Bayern Munich star has not made the trip to Amsterdam to face Ajax in the Champions League.

    Richarlison's red card was the 22nd sending off in a Merseyside derby in the Premier League era, with the Toffees having had 15 players dismissed.

    The incidents left a sour taste for Wijnaldum, with the Dutchman believing Everton – who had four players carded on Saturday compared to Liverpool's two – have a track record of being too robust in derbies.

    "Of course we are upset. The way Pickford went in was completely stupid," he said.

    "I believe he didn't want to injure Virgil, but the way he took the tackle, he didn't care. I think we've had it a lot in the games against Everton.

    "In my opinion, they take it way too far in the games we play against them. Sometimes you go a little over the top, but this was too much.

    "We can talk about the tackle from Richarlison, it was also a nasty one. That's what bothered me the most. Accidents can always happen, you can be unlucky, but the way they were doing it was completely unacceptable. It makes it harder that they don't get punished."

    While Richarlison issued an apology for his tackle on Thiago, it was confirmed on Sunday that Van Dijk will require surgery and Wijnaldum acknowledged that the squad are hugely concerned for their star defender.

    "First of all we're still devastated, it's also different than normal. The way it happened is really hard for us," he added.

    "Everyone has a really bad feeling about it. When we were speaking with the players after Saturday I think none of the players slept because of what happened with Virgil. It's a really hard one to take.

    "People will say that because Virgil is really important part of our team. He had really big performances, a really important player for us, a leader.

    "It's quite normal people will say that, but it's up to us. It's a situation we didn't deal with before, but it's what we have to deal with. Everyone can see what kind of impact he's had."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.