Thomas Tuchel will make a late call on Kylian Mbappe's fitness when Paris Saint-Germain travel to Montpellier on Wednesday.

Mbappe volleyed a superb winner – his 19th goal in 18 Ligue 1 games this season – as the runaway leaders triumphed 1-0 at Saint-Etienne on Sunday.

The absences of Neymar and Edinson Cavani due to respective foot and hip injuries have increased the burden on Mbappe over recent weeks, with the youngster excelling under the responsibility.

Yet, speaking at a pre-match news conference, Tuchel conceded he is wary of over-extending the 20-year-old.

"I have to speak with Kylian Mbappe today and we will decide," Tuchel said, with Cavani and Neymar set to miss out once more, although Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting has recovered from a bout of illness.

"Without so many players, there are not many possibilities to change, the guys who are available, they have to play, and at the same time we have to manage the minutes and not take too many risks.

"But it's not possible for the others to stay in the field for 90 minutes all the time."

Absences are not just hitting PSG in attack, with right-back Thomas Meunier still out due to concussion.

Fellow full-back Juan Bernat received a knock after operating in an unfamiliar midfield role versus Saint-Etienne.

"Juan Bernat may not be there [against Montpellier]," Tuchel explained. "He is a little injured and we cannot take any risk. He received a blow."

January signing Leandro Paredes is unavailable, having signed after the re-arranged clash was originally scheduled to take place, while captain Thiago Silva is suspended.

As such, Tuchel is grateful to have the experience and versatility of former Barcelona and Juventus defender Dani Alves to call upon.

"Alves is a leader who demands the best of everyone, even his coach," he said.

"He has a lot of energy, he never stops. He is a role model."

Tuchel added: "I like to coach players like Dani Alves, [Gianluigi] Buffon] or Thiago Silva. [Angel] Di Maria too – it's a gift, it's good for me to grow up."

Thomas Tuchel praised Paris Saint-Germain's character after the Ligue 1 champions rounded off a triumphant week with a hard-fought 1-0 win over Saint-Etienne.

PSG put a significant marker down in the Champions League as they beat Manchester United 2-0 at Old Trafford in the first leg of a last-16 tie they tackled without star forwards Neymar and Edinson Cavani.

As his did in midweek, Kylian Mbappe stepped up impressively in their absence 17 minutes from time at Stade Geoffroy-Guichard – volleying a brilliant 73rd-minute winner.

"I am very happy because I knew very well that it was very difficult to play at Saint-Etienne," Tuchel told reporters after his team extended their seemingly unassailable lead at the top of Ligue 1 to 12 points.

"My team showed an exceptional mentality. We accepted all the circumstances. 

"We defended with great intensity and vigilance. We accepted that it was a difficult match. I am very happy. 

"We have been patient, the victory is deserved."

On Mbappe, whose 18th Ligue 1 appearance this term produced his 19th top-flight goal of the campaign, Tuchel added: "He shows his quality every day in training, he has this hunger to score, score, score. 

"It's his quality - he is a special player. 

"Everyone was tired after Manchester United, physically but also mentally. It was necessary to control the game, to play focused. 

"We showed the mentality to have the victory."

A moment of magic from Kylian Mbappe gave Paris Saint-Germain a hard-fought 1-0 win at Saint-Etienne in Ligue 1.

The reigning champions and runaway leaders bounced back from a 2-1 loss to Lyon at the start of the month by beating Bordeaux 1-0 last weekend, however, Thomas Tuchel's team were short of their best once more at Stade Geoffroy Guichard.

Mbappe dazzled in the 2-0 Champions League win over Manchester United on Tuesday but found the going tougher in a line-up without the considerable talents of Neymar, Edinson Cavani, Marco Verratti and Thomas Meunier.

Yet he settled matters with aplomb in the 73rd minute, swivelling to guide Dani Alves's lofted pass into the top corner on the volley.

It was the act of a player a class apart from the rest – much like PSG, who are 12 points ahead of Lille at the summit with two games in hand.

The same combination that undid United in midweek were to the fore again, with Angel Di Maria storming forward on the break in the 20th minute to play in Mbappe, whose shot was beaten away at the near post by Stephane Ruffier.

Mbappe felt the effects of a robust challenge from Romain Hamouma, who had a shot blocked by PSG captain Thiago Silva late in the first half after Thilo Kehrer's misjudged headed clearance.

Ruffier smothered a shot from Julian Draxler at close quarters in the 55th minute, Di Maria and Mbappe having combined on the end of Marquinhos' excellent raking pass.

Juan Bernat's replacement Colin Dagba was quickly into the action with a last-ditch challenge to deny Saint-Etienne wing-back Gabriel Silva, with Kevin Monnet-Paquet going close from the resulting 63rd-minute corner.

Di Maria should have done better when he skewed wide two minutes later, leaving Mbappe to majestically show him how it was done.

He showed a more pragmatic side as he joined substitute Layvin Kurzawa in being booked for kicking the ball away in stoppage time -  PSG closing out a result that denied Saint-Etienne a move into the top four.


What does it mean? Any team in the world would miss Neymar

PSG's wonderfully composed win over Manchester United won deserved plaudits but this grasping and increasingly forced performance underlined that victory at Old Trafford came despite the absence of their star forward and not because of it.

Cavani's return will also be welcomed as centre-forward duties weighed a little heavily on the mercurial Mbappe until he produced another picturebook moment in a career already stuffed with them.

Masterful from Marquinhos

The Brazil international's shackling of Paul Pobga at Old Trafford underlined how swiftly he has developed from emergency midfield option to a dependable holding player in his own right. Marquinhos was back in his natural centre-back role here, unfurling a wonderful range of passing and appearing the coolest under pressure as the hosts launched their second-half forays. A Rolls Royce of a player.

Close shave for Bernat

The willingness of PSG's players to undertake unfamiliar roles and operate with flexible tactics has been a symbol of their development under Tuchel. Bernat started sharply enough on the left of a midfield three but was found wanting when a rare opening fell his way in the box. After his booking for fouling Mathieu Debuchy early in the second half, a 56th-minute challenge on Timothee Kolodziejczak was, at best, ill-advised and Tuchel had seen enough.

What's next

PSG tackle their rescheduled Ligue 1 home game against Montpellier on Wednesday – the first of three games in the space of six days at the Parc des Princes. Saint-Etienne travel to Dijon on Friday.

Thomas Tuchel offered no update on the condition of Neymar or Edinson Cavani ahead of Paris Saint-Germain's clash with Saint-Etienne but confirmed Thomas Meunier and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting would miss the game amid mounting injury problems.

Right-back Meunier missed PSG's 2-0 victory over Manchester United in the Champions League following a head injury he sustained against Bordeaux three days earlier, and Tuchel said Cameroon international Choupo-Moting has been taken ill.

With Cavani sidelined by a hip injury and Neymar recovering from a damaged metatarsal, Tuchel said he is keeping a close eye on Marco Verratti and Presnel Kimpembe, who have both been dogged by injuries in recent weeks.

"Thomas Meunier will not be available tomorrow, nor Choupo-Moting because of illness," Tuchel told reporters.

"The other players will be present but we need to be attentive to the old injuries of Verratti and Kimpembe.

"There is no news for Cavani and Neymar."

Tuchel was in upbeat mood despite the fitness concerns, and he picked out Kimpembe for praise along with Brazilian midfielder Marquinhos who deputised in midfield at Old Trafford.

Full-backs Thilo Kehrer and Juan Bernat were also credited for their part in extending the champions winning run to three consecutive matches in all competitions.

"Thilo Kehrer and Juan Bernat are doing a great job," said Tuchel. "They deserve to play.

"Presnel Kimpembe has everything to become one of the best defenders in Europe.

"Marquinhos is very good in the middle, as in defence. He is an incredible player who must and always wants to improve.

"I am happy that we are able to play as a team. Whether in the Champions League or Ligue 1."

Thomas Tuchel has escaped with a suspended two-match ban after he was sent off during Paris Saint-Germain's Coupe de France win over Villefranche.

The Ligue 1 champions were taken to extra time by their third-tier opponents in Lyon, eventually prevailing 3-0 thanks to goals from Julian Draxler, Moussa Diaby and Edinson Cavani.

Tuchel's frustration during the contest spilled over and he was dismissed from the touchline after extended protests to the fourth official over a foul on midfielder Leandro Paredes.

But the French Football Federation has opted for a suspended punishment, meaning Tuchel is free to take his place on the bench for PSG's coming matches.

The federation came down harder on Lille defender Adama Soumaoro and his coach Christophe Galtier following their Coupe de France loss at Rennes.

Soumaoro was sent off for a dangerous tackle on Mexer and, having already sat out last Sunday's win over Guingamp, he must now serve a further three-match ban.

Galtier's protests over the decision have earned him a three-game suspension, with one of those suspended. He will be on the bench for Lille's Ligue 1 home game against Montpellier on Sunday before the punishment takes effect.

Neymar is confident Paris Saint-Germain will win the Champions League this year due to their "awesome team" and "genius coach" Thomas Tuchel.

The Brazil star missed the first leg of their last-16 tie with Manchester United on Tuesday as he is recovering from a metatarsal injury sustained last month.

PSG made light work of Neymar's absence, and that of striker Edinson Cavani, as they claimed a 2-0 win at Old Trafford that puts them in a commanding position to reach the quarter-finals.

The Ligue 1 leaders have yet to win Europe's biggest prize even amid the huge financial backing of owners Qatar Sports Investments, but Neymar believes their wait will end this year.

The 27-year-old also expects to be fully fit to play a part in their run to glory, with the final taking place on June 1 at the Wanda Metropolitano in Madrid.

"PSG will be Champions League champion," he said in an interview with Red Bull. "PSG is not just about me - it has an awesome team with great athletes and a genius coach.

"Besides, the PSG fans are like a 12th player when we are playing in Paris. I have no doubts that we will be champions and that I will be playing."

Neymar admits it is difficult to be sidelined with a foot injury for the second year in succession, but he thinks his problems have made him grow as a player.

"The treatment has just begun," he said. "It will be a long journey and I will have little victories day by day. Thank God I have great professionals by my side and the support of PSG as well as the support from fans all over the world.

"I have played football since I was a little child so, yes, it's very hard to be away from football, from the club's routine and from the fans' warmth. In 2018 I faced something similar and I know how bad it is, but that experience made me stronger and more prepared to face what's coming now."

Angel Di Maria's "super reliable" performance on his return to Manchester United impressed Paris Saint-Germain boss Thomas Tuchel.

The Argentina winger was regularly jeered by the home fans at Old Trafford, who he played in front of for one unhappy season in the 2014-15 campaign having arrived amid much fanfare from Real Madrid.

But Di Maria did his part to silence the boo-boys by providing the assist for Presnel Kimpembe's opener from a corner before laying one on a plate for Kylian Mbappe in PSG's 2-0 win in the first leg of the Champions League last-16 tie.

And Tuchel praised Di Maria for sticking to his task. 

"I'm happy that he stayed confident. I'm happy that he stayed always like this, super reliable, because he's always working hard," he said.

"He always gives his best and for that it's easy to forgive him when he has not such a good first half, for us. 

"I'm very happy. It's always dangerous with him, with corners, and of course a superb assist for the second goal in the open position and with a perfect pass for Kylian. 

"So, a nice comeback for him and I'm very happy for him, and of course he helped us a lot."

PSG's victory was even more impressive in the context of the Ligue 1 champions being without Neymar, Edinson Cavani and Thomas Meunier.

And attacking midfielder Julian Draxler believes the team displayed their strength in depth.

"We lost two, three very important players - Thomas, Ney and Cavani - but we knew that we also have other players who can play in a high level and we showed that," Draxler said. 

"Of course, we are even better if Ney and Cavani are there for example, but football isn't two or three players, it's the whole team and that's what we showed. 

"We played very well, very seriously and that's why I think we deserved the win."

Thomas Tuchel said it is only "half-time" in the Champions League last-16 tie as the Paris Saint-Germain head coach remained grounded following Tuesday's 2-0 win against Manchester United.

PSG outclassed United at Old Trafford - Presnel Kimpembe and Kylian Mbappe condemning the Red Devils to their first loss under caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and heaviest home defeat in European competition.

Tuchel was without star pair Neymar and Edinson Cavani for the trip to Manchester but PSG were the superior side as two goals within seven second-half minutes - inspired by Angel Di Maria - put the French champions in the box seat.

United star Paul Pogba was sent off following a second yellow card in the closing stages, however, PSG boss Tuchel refused to get carried away with the result ahead of the return fixture in Paris on March 6.

"We played with a good mix, very tight and close to each other when we were not in possession, working hard to close spaces down and help each other," Tuchel told reporters. "Ready to run too but with a good mix of aggressiveness, but also playing cool and calm on the ball. We used our midfield players to set the pace and rhythm of the game, to control it.  

"I think during the first half we lost the ball a little bit too easier. We were always looking for a solution, trying to be too hasty and forcing things in the opposition half. This is dangerous as you can be caught on the counter, but we played with a good structure and mental approach and a huge amount of confidence. 

"In the second half we became more and more in control of the game. That was why we won. But we're only at half-time in the tie and we have to be ready for the second half."

"We know we are capable of winning, but they are capable of winning in Paris as well," the German added. "That's what sport is all about, particularly when we are playing football and in the Champions League. Now of course we will enjoy this but tomorrow we start preparing for the game against Saint-Etienne and then the gave against Manchester United. 

"We cannot rest on our laurels and start thinking about the quarter-finals as it is only half-time in the tie. It's 2-0, a good result, but only at half-time and no team have ever got through after one leg. We have to be ready to work hard with the same approach and mentality, working hard together, to be well prepared and to put ourselves in a good position to win again."

Tuchel continued: "We needed to make sure we were applying pressure and using our central midfield players to dictate the pace of the game. I also said we need to be more patient as well because sometimes we looked too hard for the solution. Our pressing game was good in the first half but we needed to be more patient.

"We needed to stay united with the two central midfielders playing together almost as two number sixes to take the game in the opposition half and control the pace there and use the rhythm to create chances. I told them to be patient. It was difficult in the first half but the same tactics in the second half and I think our guys grew in confidence as the game went on, which is what we expected."

Kylian Mbappe said Paris Saint-Germain must not feel fear after a 2-0 win at Manchester United established a dominant position in their Champions League last-16 tie.

Mbappe doubled PSG's lead after Presnel Kimpembe gave the Ligue 1 champions the advantage at Old Trafford on Tuesday, with former United winger Angel Di Maria creating both goals.

United's first defeat under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was also their heaviest ever home loss in European competition, while Paul Pogba's late red card added to their problems ahead of next month's return leg in Paris.

PSG lost 5-2 on aggregate to Real Madrid in the last 16 a year ago and in 2016-17 they were on the end of one of football's greatest ever comebacks, Barcelona overturning a 4-0 first-leg deficit to progress.

But although PSG have regularly failed in the knockout rounds of the competition, Mbappe urged Thomas Tuchel's side - who were without Edinson Cavani and Neymar due to injury - to be brave.

"Tuchel told me that it was going to be different, that I was going to touch the ball a lot less," Mbappe said to RMC Sport. 

"It was difficult because I am learning this role [as a central striker] but I am not frustrated.

"We must stop feeling fear. Football is played on the field. Neymar and Cavani are ultra-important but people have to support us.

"French football must go as far as possible in the Champions League. People must support us, we will support Lyon [against Barca] next week. We must stop being afraid."

Only an improbable comeback would see United knock PSG out but Mbappe will not be counting on a place in the last eight until the job is done.

"It's not perfect but it's good. Perfect, it will be after the qualification," he said. "We are happy but we are only at half-time.

"We will continue to prepare well because we had a small physical issue over the last 20 minutes.

"It was a really new system. We were not used to it. We needed a little time to adapt.

"We came back with better intentions in the second half. We knew they wanted to score and we did it."

Paul Pogba was sent off as Paris Saint-Germain won 2-0 at Manchester United to take control of their last-16 Champions League tie, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer tasting defeat for the first time since taking charge.

Injuries to Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard dented United's attacking thrust and PSG scored twice in seven second-half minutes at Old Trafford on Tuesday to put a foot in the quarter-finals.

Presnel Kimpembe converted a corner from Angel Di Maria to score his first professional goal and the former United winger recorded another assist when he set up Kylian Mbappe for a crucial second.

Although PSG were without injured forwards Neymar and Edinson Cavani, United could muster no response with veteran goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon completely untested and the Premier League side's task in next month's second leg looks huge, especially as Pogba will be banned.

Di Maria bent an early curler wide on his Old Trafford return then Mbappe missed the target after being sent through on goal by Julian Draxler's incisive pass.

United lost both Martial and Lingard to injury with Alexis Sanchez coming on moments before the interval and Juan Mata introduced for the second half.

David de Gea was tested for the first time in the 53rd minute, diving low to his left to push away Mbappe's header, but PSG opened the scoring from the resulting corner.

Di Maria's right-wing delivery curled over Pogba and Kimpembe shook off the attentions of Nemanja Matic to send a controlled volley into the roof of De Gea's net.

PSG almost scored a quickfire second when a thumping drive from Dani Alves flew just wide but they extended their advantage with a potentially pivotal second on the hour.

Di Maria was again the creator, finding too much space on the left wing to deliver a low cross that Mbappe finished superbly after powering through a gap in the middle of United's defence.

Solskjaer waited until the 84th minute to send on Romelu Lukaku but PSG held on comfortably, with United's misery complete when Pogba was shown a second yellow card for a foul on Alves.

What does it mean? Priceless PSG away goals

Thomas Tuchel's tactics worked to perfection with PSG denying United space to show off their counter-attacking skills, while injuries to Martial and Lingard stifled United. Solskjaer's side, beaten for the first time in his 12th match, now have a mountain to climb in the French capital next month.

Di Maria thrives despite abuse

Argentina winger Di Maria was subject to abuse from a section of the United fans, although he did perhaps provoke them with his celebrations after PSG's opening goal. What is certain is Di Maria showed far more productivity in his two assists than during his forgettable spell at United.

Pogba goes missing on United's big night

France international Pogba has been increasingly influential in United's Premier League recovery, but he lost the midfield battle against the excellent Marco Verratti. Allowing his frustration to boil over in the closing stages with a rash challenge showed his immaturity and United will miss him in Paris.

What's next?

PSG are away to Saint-Etienne on Sunday in Ligue 1, with United going to Chelsea in the FA Cup fifth round the following day. United will try to overturn their two-goal decific in Paris when the return leg is played on March 6.

Thomas Tuchel knows Paris Saint-Germain will face a Manchester United side revitalised under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in the last 16 of the Champions League.

After qualifying top of a group that also included Liverpool and Napoli, the Ligue 1 champions were dealt a tough hand in the first knockout stage when drawn against United, albeit much has changed since the teams were paired together at the end of last year.

Jose Mourinho was in charge of the Red Devils at that time, but the Portuguese was sacked soon after and replaced by Solskjaer on an interim basis.

The change in management has led to a stunning turnaround in the team's fortunes - United have triumphed in 10 of their 11 games under the Norwegian, with Burnley the only side to stop them winning in his reign so far.

In contrast, PSG will be without the injured Neymar for both legs of the tie, while Edinson Cavani is set to miss Tuesday's game at Old Trafford after picking up a hip problem at the weekend.

"Manchester United play with a lot of confidence, score a lot of goals, get a lot of early leads. It's an impressive run," Tuchel told the media.

"To play at Old Trafford against this Manchester United is like the group stage again. It's one of the toughest challenges. 

"We were in extremely good shape at the end of the group stage. Since the draw, things have changed completely. I always said to talk about it in February.

"They are full of energy and full of confidence and it will be a tough challenge."

Tuchel refused to be drawn on what Solskjaer had done to achieve such impressive results but does expects United to be bold in their approach - just like their caretaker manager was during his playing days at the club.

"I'd love to have a good answer but I'm not sure it's on me to talk about the situation. Obviously, there is an effect," the former Borussia Dortmund boss said. 

"We have a word in Germany: if you go to the doctor and he heals you, he's right - it doesn't matter how!

"He [Solskjaer] was a super dangerous player, any time he came on he was there to win games and he does the same as a manager here. It's a big challenge to play against him."

Thomas Tuchel insists Kylian Mbappe cannot be expected to fill the roles of Neymar and Edinson Cavani when Paris Saint-Germain face Manchester United.

The Ligue 1 leaders visit Old Trafford on Tuesday for the first leg of the much-anticipated Champions League last-16 tie, but will do so without Neymar and Cavani, who are sidelined with respective foot and hip injuries.

France star Mbappe is therefore likely to be PSG's main hope of ensuring they leave England with at least an away goal to take back to Parc des Princes for the second leg on March 6.

But head coach Tuchel does not want the 20-year-old to alter his game to compensate for the absence of his usual attacking partners.

"There's no point putting pressure on Mbappe," he told a news conference on Monday. "It's not his job to replace Neymar and Cavani and do the job of all three of them. 

"He has to play freely. I want us to be able to help him with good passes. He's here to grow and this is the perfect moment for that."

Tuchel admits PSG will inevitably be worse off without Neymar, who damaged a metatarsal during a Coupe de France match last month - the same bone he broke last year.

"Let me put it another way: will Manchester United miss [Paul] Pogba, if he was not there? Will they miss [Marcus] Rashford? Of course they will," Tuchel said when asked if his PSG could replace the Brazil star.

"You cannot replace quality players like this. Neymar is one of the key, key players in Europe and we miss him a lot."

Tuchel is particularly wary of the threat posed by Pogba and Anthony Martial, who between them scored all three goals in United's 3-0 Premier League victory over Fulham on Saturday.

"I don't think there's any surprise Pogba is key," he said. "He's an incredible player with wonderful qualities. He's extremely strong with the ball at his feet. I think he's always dangerous offensively. Him and Martial are a dangerous pairing."

However, Tuchel intends to set his team up to attack United and hopes to score at least once.

"We have our identity and it's not easy to change a team's identity. We play attacking football - it's in our DNA," he said. "We're here to score, maybe more than one.

"I imagine United will be bold and we'll have to be at our best level. I'm sure there will be times tomorrow where we'll be defending deeply. 

"Over 180 minutes, I'd say it's a 50-50 game. At Old Trafford, I'm not sure. We have a second leg in Paris, and we feel very strong and comfortable at Parc des Princes. It's one of these games where the details, you can get a decision from the referee, a yellow, red, anything can make the difference. It's a close game."

Former Manchester United striker Louis Saha has warned his old side that they face an attacking force "who cannot be stopped" in Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer takes charge of his first Champions League match since taking over as caretaker manager against the Ligue 1 champions at Old Trafford on Tuesday.

PSG have been dealt a series of injury blows in the build-up to the last-16 tie, with Neymar, Edinson Cavani and Thomas Meunier to miss the first leg and Marco Verratti short of full fitness.

However, Saha thinks World Cup winner Mbappe will help to give Thomas Tuchel's side the edge.

"Paris Saint-Germain are slightly ahead because they kept progressing," he told Omnisport when asked to compare the teams. "They have a player like Mbappe who cannot be stopped."

"Man United are a great club with quality players. Paris Saint-Germain are solid because the head coach brought more stability between defence and attack. The coach can easily switch his system, he's very clever and has great communication. He has great coaching staff able to identify the opponent's philosophy. We saw him changing his system several times during a game.

"The team has evolved a lot. They haven't taken it to the next level in the Champions League, those few steps left to reach the final. They lacked those elements: the right information, atmosphere, balance, reaction to what cannot be predicted. The coach needs to deal with it, giving the right space and confidence to the players while keeping his defence ready. It's a balance to reach that is different in Champions League to the league."

PSG were considered heavy favourites when the draw was made in December, but their problems with injuries, coupled with United's resurgent domestic form under Solskjaer, suggests the tie could be closely fought.

Saha, in fact, thinks United should not be discounted from challenging for the trophy this season, even if they sit fourth in the Premier League and 14 points behind leaders Manchester City.

"The Champions League is a different world," said Saha, who won the competition with the Red Devils in 2008. "We've seen it with Liverpool and others. Some were not the best in the league and, once in the Champions League, the cohesion rises. It is not the same.

"It is not going to about the one who plays a solid game; that's not enough in the Champions League. It's about the players able to play freely, to deal with the transitions and with the pressure of the last minutes of the game.

"You have to deal with pressure, ego and confidence. Some attack or defend too much [in the final few minutes]. It is a coaching thing. Zinedine Zidane won Champions Leagues and showed us how to do it. We just hope now that Ole does the same."

Eight weeks is an awfully long time in football.

When the draw for the last 16 of the Champions League was made on December 17, Jose Mourinho was in charge of Manchester United and had presided over just two wins in the club's last eight fixtures.

A 3-1 loss to Liverpool less than 24 hours earlier left United 19 points adrift of their rivals in the Premier League. Optimism was scant at Old Trafford.

Meanwhile, Thomas Tuchel's then-unbeaten PSG side boasted a 10-point advantage at the Ligue 1 summit, with two games in hand, and they had entered the Champions League draw having topped a group that included Liverpool and Napoli.

Tuchel declared himself "neither satisfied nor unsatisfied" at his team being pitted against United in the first round of the knockout stages, yet, privately at least, he must have felt there was little to fear about a team lacking identity and fight.

Then, on December 18, United's hierarchy pulled the trigger, sacking Mourinho and changing the course of their campaign.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was handed the reins until the end of the season and a revitalised United side reeled off eight straight wins in all competitions, including victories at Tottenham and Arsenal.

The United side PSG will face in Tuesday's first leg is now a different beast. They are unbeaten in 11 games under Solskjaer and key figures like Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford, seemingly subdued and stifled under the previous regime, are playing with the type of confidence, freedom and attacking verve that may cause Tuchel to reconsider his view on whether he is satisfied with drawing United or not.

On the other hand, PSG are still 10 points clear at the top of Ligue 1 with two games in hand, but the air of invincibility that surrounded them is no longer there, even for teams in France.

Guingamp shocked the capital club in the Coupe de la Ligue last month and after Lyon handed PSG their first league loss of the campaign on February 3, Tuchel's side needed extra time to overcome third-tier Villefranche in the Coupe de France last week.

The world's most expensive footballer was absent for the Lyon and Villefranche games and Tuchel will be without Neymar for both legs of the United tie too, while the club's record scorer Edinson Cavani could also be missing on Tuesday due to a hip injury.

Solskjaer, and Mourinho before him, might have worried about facing the man who scored five times in the group stages but PSG's attack appears far less daunting without Neymar.

There is a mental aspect for PSG to overcome too. They have not progressed past the Champions League quarter-finals in any of the previous six seasons and Tuchel knows that it is on the continent, rather than domestically, where he will be judged.

The Champions League may hold the key to Solskjaer's long-term future too. The man who delivered the trophy with his last-gasp goal in the final 20 years ago has aspirations to be the permanent boss at United and knocking out PSG would be a significant boost for his CV.

That CV did not even include the job title 'Manchester United manager' when this draw was made, but these two clubs are evidence of how swiftly the footballing landscape can alter.

Paris Saint-Germain have confirmed striker Edinson Cavani has a hip injury, but he has not been ruled out of Tuesday's Champions League trip to Manchester United.

Cavani suffered the injury in Saturday's victory over Bordeaux, in which he scored the only goal from the penalty spot, and coach Thomas Tuchel was pessimistic about the Uruguay international's chances of being available for the last-16 match at Old Trafford.

"There's no good news for Edi this morning. He had some tests and there will be more to come," Tuchel told Telefoot on Sunday.

PSG then released a short statement revealing examinations showed Cavani has a hip injury, although they gave no timescale for his recovery.

"The treatment of this injury and the length of his unavailability will depend on the evolution of the injury over the coming days," PSG said in a medical update.

Neymar is already out of the United game and reports in France have suggested Cavani may not be ready to play in the return leg in Paris on March 6.

Although Marco Verratti played 59 minutes against Bordeaux to boost hopes he could face United after recovering from an ankle injury, PSG have been dealt a further blow.

The club announced Thomas Meunier has a concussion, with the right-back unavailable to take on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side as a result.

An official statement read: "Thomas Meunier's neurological examination confirmed a light concussion. Thomas will be unavailable until his next neurological consultation at the end of the week."

His absence will pose a further selection dilemma for Tuchel, who has been using right-back Dani Alves in midfield of late.

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