Thomas Tuchel lauded Kylian Mbappe and Angel Di Maria's powers of recovery after they inspired Paris Saint-Germain's 3-0 win at Nice on Sunday.

France forward Mbappe made his first PSG appearance of the season following a positive coronavirus test.

His return heralded by far PSG's most convincing display of their title defence to date, following back-to-back losses against Lens and Marseille before the last-gasp 1-0 victory over Metz in midweek.

Di Maria also tested positive for COVID-19 but has managed to play three games since his return despite minimal time on the training pitch.

The Argentina winger scored from the rebound in first-half stoppage time when Mbappe's shot was saved, with the ex-Monaco man having won and converted a penalty to open the scoring.

Captain Marquinhos made sure of the points with a 66th-minute header from Di Maria's free-kick.

"I'm not surprised no, but it's impressive," Tuchel told a post-match news conference when asked about Mbappe's display.

"What Di Maria did is not easy. Angel has played three games in a row starting after just one practice.

"He always shows that he is capable of doing extraordinary things. It's the same with Kylian

"He had a very good game. He has shown again that he can make the difference with his confidence and his hunger to score.

"He helped us a lot, that's clear. I am very happy. I saw a lot of effort from the team. It is a deserved victory, but it was not easy because Keylor Navas had a great game too.

"We now have a week to prepare for the next match."

Tuchel is glad of the seven days to recuperate before next Sunday's trip to Reims, his squad still beset by fitness and suspension issues due to the respective challenges of coronavirus and four red cards across the Marseille and Metz matches.

"We suffer a lot. I see we are really tired after this game," he added.

"But it's something important and it shows in our performance. I see that we haven't lost our state of mind. We are always ready to suffer and to work together. It's a great victory."

Jose Mourinho has offered no assurances about the future of Dele Alli after the Tottenham midfielder was linked with a move to Paris Saint-Germain.

Alli was left out of the Spurs squad on Sunday, when a Son Heung-min and Harry Kane-inspired Tottenham came from behind to beat Southampton 5-2, with Mourinho explaining his absence was a tactical decision because he had too many players in his position.

The England international, 24, started against Everton in Spurs' Premier League opener but was replaced at half-time and did not travel to Bulgaria in midweek for their Europa League qualifier against Lokomotiv Plovdiv.

Given Gareth Bale has been added to Mourinho's attacking options this weekend, the outlook is unlikely to get any better for Alli, who is said to be of interest to Champions League finalists PSG.

Asked whether Alli would be leaving the club, Mourinho told reporters: "I'm not responsible for the [transfer] market.

"I don't know how to answer your question in relation to that. The only thing I can say is that I left eight players behind. They stayed and trained this morning because they are a big group and Dele is amongst these players.

"You could see our team. I cannot start with all of them and I cannot have a bench without defenders or midfielders. In the same way the squad is a puzzle, the bench is also a little puzzle.

"So to have on the bench Toby [Alderweireld] and Serge [Aurier], and Moussa [Sissoko] and Gio [Lo Celso], and [Erik] Lamela, and [Steven] Bergwijn. I cannot have on the bench four wingers or three wingers and a number 10, and then no defenders.

"Everything is a puzzle so in these matches that he stayed out, probably Tuesday he will play [in the EFL Cup against Leyton Orient] and others he will stay out."

Asked if he wanted to keep Alli, Mourinho replied: "I want a balanced squad, that's what I want.

"No, he doesn't need to be sacrificed, but the squad is a puzzle."

Spurs, for whom Son scored four against Southampton, signed Bale on loan from Real Madrid on Saturday and also added left-back Sergio Reguilon from LaLiga's champions after he impressed on loan with Sevilla last term.

"A coach always likes to have the best players in his squad," Mourinho added.

"Gareth, when fit and in condition, is one of the top players in Europe, and Sergio was amazing last season in Sevilla."

Kylian Mbappe impressed on his return to action as he helped Paris Saint-Germain to a 3-0 away Ligue 1 win over Nice.

The forward was making his first club appearance of the new season on Sunday after testing positive for coronavirus while on international duty with France.

Mbappe scored a penalty that he won himself and then saw his saved shot converted by Angel Di Maria on the rebound as two PSG goals towards the end of the first half proved pivotal.

Nice were not at full strength themselves due the impact of COVID-19 but Patrick Vieira's men were occasionally threatening until PSG captain Marquinhos headed in after the break to seal the win.

After Walter Benitez saved Di Maria's volley, the visitors lost Idrissa Gueye to injury midway through the half, with Ander Herrera replacing him shortly before a golden opportunity for Mbappe to open the scoring.

The France international looked sure to score after a wonderful passing move involving Mitchel Bakker and Mauro Icardi, only to fire over with a left-footed effort.

Presnel Kimpembe was somehow unable to get on the end of a Di Maria corner and later miscued another effort, before Mbappe atoned for his miss.

Seven minutes before the break, Mbappe confidently sent Benitez the wrong way from the penalty spot after a purposeful run into the box had seen him fouled by Khephren Thuram.

Herrera almost made it two but Andy Pelmard deflected his shot onto the post, before lively Nice winger Rony Lopes – who had earlier curled just wide – forced Navas into a key save after a great one-two with Amine Gouiri.

But PSG moved firmly into control one minute into first-half stoppage time, Mbappe's magnificent run and shot forcing Benitez to parry, with Di Maria on hand to power in on the follow-up.

Navas was impressively at full stretch to make a fingertip save from Youcef Atal after the break, while Benitez had to rush out to deny Icardi with his legs at the other end, with the former Inter striker hitting the post from close range soon after.

It was game over after 66 minutes, though, Marquinhos heading in a superb in-swinging free-kick from Di Maria.

A second Mbappe goal was ruled out for offside, while Navas saved well from Evann Guessand late on to preserve PSG's clean sheet.

Kylian Mbappe is available to play for Paris Saint-Germain against Nice on Sunday, Thomas Tuchel has confirmed.

Mbappe has yet to play for PSG in the 2020-21 season after testing positive for coronavirus while on international duty with France.

However, Tuchel said both Ligue 1 and the club doctor have given clearance for Mbappe to make his first appearance for the club since the Champions League final defeat to Bayern Munich.

"We need to talk with Kylian. The doctor and the league told us it's possible," he said.

"I don't know if he can play. We have to wait. He's in the squad. We'll see if he can play.

"It's between me and Kylian. We're going to talk after practice. I have to see if he's feeling okay and we'll decide if he starts or ends the game."

PSG will be without defender Juan Bernat for much of the season after he ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament in the 1-0 win over Dijon, which marked their first victory of the new campaign.

However, Tuchel is not looking to purchase a replacement, adding: "Bernat is a key player but we have [Layvin] Kurzawa, [Mitchel] Bakker and [Abdou] Diallo. It is not the priority to buy a player for this position."

Tuchel is eyeing reinforcements in the transfer window, however, with Thiago Silva having joined Chelsea and Edinson Cavani also leaving the club.

"It is always the objective to have a group ready to start a championship," said Tuchel. "The priority is clear, we need a striker, a central defender and a midfielder. We must replace the players we lost."

 

Liverpool's transfer activity is ramping up.

After securing the services of Spanish midfielder Thiago Alcantara, Diogo Jota is reportedly next on the list.

Could there be more arrivals?

 

TOP STORY – JOTA LIVERPOOL BOUND

Premier League champions Liverpool are set to complete the signing of Wolves star Diogo Jota, according to Goal.

Liverpool announced the arrival of Thiago Alcantara from Bayern Munich on Friday as they look to retain their Premier League crown in 2020-21.

Now, Jurgen Klopp's men are poised to bring former Atletico Madrid forward Jota to Anfield amid widespread speculation.

 

ROUND-UP

- RMC claims Porto full-back Alex Telles has agreed terms with Manchester United over a five-year deal. However, Paris Saint-Germain are also considering a move for the 27-year-old Brazilian following Juan Bernat's knee injury.

- Liverpool have enquired about Schalke star Ozan Kabak, reports Chris Williams. Bundesliga strugglers Schalke are reluctant to sell the 20-year-old centre-back.

Atletico Madrid are finalising a deal for Bayern Munich utility Javier Martinez, says Marca. Martinez played for Athletic Bilbao before joining Bundesliga powerhouse Bayern in 2012.

- The Daily Mail claims Manchester City are eyeing Sevilla defender Jules Kounde as an alternative to Napoli's Kalidou Koulibaly. Pep Guardiola's City have been tipped to sign Koulibaly, though they have struggled to find an agreement with Napoli as PSG reportedly circle.

Milan have overtaken Barcelona in the race to sign Lyon captain Memphis Depay, according to Sky Italia. Tipped to reunite with former Netherlands boss Ronald Koeman at Barca, Depay could now join Milan in a swap deal involving Lucas Paqueta.

- The front page of Saturday's Mundo Deportivo says Barca are looking to sell Nelson Semedo to fund new arrivals, with Ajax sensation and Bayern target Sergino Dest, City defender Eric Garcia and Depay wanted.

- Goal confirmed Juventus are working to bring Everton forward Moise Kean back to Turin in addition to signing Roma's Edin Dzeko. Juve are interested in a loan deal, though Everton are asking for a permanent transfer or loan with an obligation to buy.

Mauricio Pochettino said he did not receive an offer to coach LaLiga giants Barcelona, while the former Tottenham boss insisted leading Real Madrid is his dream.

Pochettino was linked with Barca following Quique Setien's sacking before the embattled Spanish powerhouse opted for Ronald Koeman after a trophy-less 2019-20 campaign.

Argentine manager Pochettino, who departed Tottenham in November last year, was asked about the Barca speculation.

"They didn't offer me to coach Barca," he told Cope and Marca. "I didn't see myself with [president Josep Maria] Bartomeu.

"I did eat with Ramon Planes because we have a friendship for many years, since 2009 when he signed for Espanyol."

Pochettino had opened the door to potentially coaching Barca, having previously suggested he would not take charge at Camp Nou due to his links with rivals Espanyol.

"I was ironic then," Pochettino reflected. "It was my first news conference at Tottenham and they asked me about the Barca rumours. Then I answered with my irony and I think I went too far, I said what I said.

"It sounds very nice for the radical Espanyol fan but I did not want to speak for that radical fan. Nor do I have to justify any statement because no one can question my love for Espanyol."

Pochettino has also been linked with Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain, Serie A champions Juventus and Inter heading into the 2020-21 season.

Thomas Tuchel remains in charge of PSG, Juve turned to Andrea Pirlo and Inter have opted to continue with Antonio Conte.

"Neither PSG, nor Juventus, nor Inter Milan [made offers in the off-season]," Pochettino added. "I did have a call from Benfica and Monaco. I have no need to lie."

Pochettino shunned Madrid in 2018, deciding to honour his contract with Premier League side Tottenham at the time.

Madrid attempted to hire Pochettino as Zinedine Zidane's successor and asked about Los Blancos again, the 48-year-old said: "I don't know if I'll ever coach Madrid, but of course it's my dream.

"If it's not the best it's one of the best clubs in the world. I'm no different, everyone has it on their dream list."

Juan Bernat is set to miss the majority of the season after Paris Saint-Germain confirmed the full-back has suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury.

Bernat had to be helped off the pitch by PSG's medical staff after hurting his left knee late on in Wednesday's 1-0 Ligue 1 victory over Metz.

The former Bayern Munich full-back went off in the 86th minute, having only come on as a substitute in the 63rd minute, before Julian Draxler's stoppage-time goal sealed PSG's first victory of the season.

PSG have now revealed Bernat sustained an "isolated rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament", with a further update to be provided in the following days.

While no timetable for his return was announced by PSG, early reports suggest Bernat could be facing six months on the sidelines.

Bernat's injury comes as a further blow to Thomas Tuchel, who was without suspended trio Neymar, Leandro Paredes and Layvin Kurzawa, and the injured Thilo Kehrer and Marco Verratti – who has returned to individual training. Kylian Mbappe is also yet to feature this season after testing positive for coronavirus, while Alessandro Florenzi's fitness is being monitored.

Marquinhos and Mauro Icardi, however, played all 90 minutes after returning from periods of quarantine after they contracted COVID-19.

Kylian Mbappe is training individually as Thomas Tuchel aims to welcome his talisman back into the fold at Paris Saint-Germain.

France star Mbappe has been unable to play for PSG after he tested positive while on France duty earlier in September, with six other players from the squad having also contracted the virus previously.

PSG lost their opening two games of the Ligue 1 season but beat Metz 1-0 on Wednesday thanks to Julian Draxler's late goal.

Mbappe was the only one of the seven players who tested positive for COVID-19 to not have returned inside the first three fixtures of PSG's campaign, although Neymar is currently suspended after his red card against Marseille on Sunday.

After Wednesday's success, Tuchel revealed Mbappe did not have any symptoms and had been training individually.

On Thursday, PSG stated tests performed on the player on Wednesday had not returned any abnormal results, and that more information would be communicated in the coming days.

Should Mbappe be allowed to return to the squad, he may be available for selection for PSG's clash with Nice on Sunday.

Paris Saint-Germain coach Thomas Tuchel is hopeful of having Kylian Mbappe available to face Nice on Sunday.

Mbappe is yet to play for PSG in 2020-21 after testing positive for coronavirus while on France duty earlier this month.

PSG lost their opening two games of the Ligue 1 season, but recorded a much-needed 1-0 win over Metz on Wednesday.

Tuchel said he was hoping to have Mbappe, who scored 30 goals in 2019-20, available against Nice.

"Kylian is feeling good. He doesn't have any symptoms," he told a news conference.

"He has been tested positive for COVID-19 but he didn't have any symptoms. He is feeling good. He had some individual training sessions.

"Maybe we will do the same thing we have done with Angel [Di María], Marquinhos and Mauro [Icardi].

"It depends if he is allowed to train with all the team, if it's not forbidden. If it's possible, we will decide on Saturday. I have to talk with the doctor and with Kylian, then we will make a decision."

PSG will be without Neymar, Leandro Paredes and Layvin Kurzawa after the trio were sent off in the defeat to Marseille last week.

While Kurzawa was banned for six games, Neymar and Paredes received two-match suspensions, although the length of the Argentinian's ban surprised Tuchel.

"It's better if I don't say what I think because I want to be on the pitch for the next game," he said.

"I have never seen a player who received two yellow cards [Paredes] then be suspended for two games.

"I am very surprised, but it happened."

Thomas Tuchel believes Julian Draxler can develop into an important player for Paris Saint-Germain, but he offered no guarantees the attacker would stay at the club.

Linked with a move, Draxler was the hero for PSG on Wednesday, scoring a 93rd-minute winner in a 1-0 victory over Metz in Ligue 1.

After back-to-back losses to begin the Ligue 1 season, it marked an important win for PSG, who were without Neymar and Kylian Mbappe.

While PSG coach Tuchel feels Draxler can become key for PSG, he said there were no guarantees for the Germany international amid links to Arsenal and Leeds United.

"It's football, we can't guarantee anything. During the transfer window, we can't guarantee things because maybe the next day things will be different," he said after the win over Metz.

"Draxler has quality, for sure. In football, you have to show your qualities every day. It's important at that level. You have to be ready to suffer, to be present and to be crucial for your team.

"He had a big chance in the first half. I was sure he could score with his right foot because he did it in the training session. He scored the goal. He ran a lot. He showed a good mentality. If he keeps playing with this mentality, he can be a very important player for us. I always count on him.

"Right now, everyone has to be involved. No one is left aside. Everyone is very tired now in the dressing room. But now, we have to recover because we have another game soon."

Draxler headed in his first Ligue 1 goal since October 2018 after Metz goalkeeper Alexandre Oukidja could only parry Angel Di Maria's teasing delivery from the left.

It also came after PSG were reduced to 10 men when Abdou Diallo was sent off in the 65th minute and finished the game with nine players due to Juan Bernat injury.

Di Maria's performance in particular pleased Tuchel, who said: "It's always the same with Angel. He is reliable, he is strong.

"He has experience, he has a good mentality and he has the quality to be crucial. He is a key player for us, for sure. And he showed it again. It's unbelievable.

"He played two games in three days, without a training session, after being sick with COVID. I don't have words for it, it's unbelievable.

"But it's true we are used to it because he is always present, he is reliable, he always wants to play. Having him in the team is a gift."

Neymar has been banned for two matches following his red card for Paris Saint-Germain in their Classique defeat to Marseille.

PSG went down 1-0 to rivals Marseille on Sunday, but the match was marred by an incredible finale in which five players were dismissed.

Neymar, the world's most expensive player, was the last of those to see red after striking Alvaro Gonzalez on the back of the head.

The Brazilian alleged afterwards he had been the victim of racist abuse from Alvaro, who denied the accusations.

The results of a disciplinary tribunal were revealed on Wednesday and Neymar has had a third match added to his ban as a suspended sentence.

Layvin Kurzawa was handed a six-game ban, with Leandro Paredes also out for just two fixtures.

The trio watched on as PSG belatedly claimed their first win of the season against Metz, a match in which Abdou Diallo also saw red.

Angel Di Maria was the champions' star performer but has now been called up to face the disciplinary commission next Wednesday in relation to the Marseille game.

OM's Jordan Amavi was ruled out for three games, with Dario Benedetto facing just a one-match suspension.

Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain snatched a precious late 1-0 victory after again toiling at home to Metz on Wednesday.

Having suffered consecutive 1-0 defeats - which came amid several positive coronavirus tests in the squad - PSG looked set to be frustrated again in their pursuit of a first goal and first win after three league matches in 2020-21.

Abdou Diallo was sent off and Juan Bernat departed injured, leaving nine PSG players battling to preserve a point until Julian Draxler profited on a goalkeeping error at the other end to head in.

PSG players collapsed in a heap at the end as the Champions League finalists moved out of the bottom three and eased the pressure on coach Thomas Tuchel less than a month on from the Lisbon loss to Bayern Munich.

Paris Saint-Germain will be without three suspended players, including Neymar, against Metz on Wednesday, but will have Marquinhos and Mauro Icardi available.

Brazil defender Marquinhos and former Inter striker Icardi were among seven PSG players to test positive for coronavirus earlier in September.

The list also included Neymar, Keylor Navas, Leandro Paredes, Angel Di Maria and Kylian Mbappe.

Mbappe, Marquinhos and Icardi were the only ones not given the green light to feature against Marseille on Sunday, though the remaining quartet could not help Thomas Tuchel's side avoid a 1-0 defeat and their second loss of the Ligue 1 season in an ill-tempered Classique.

Neymar was shown a red card in a stoppage-time fracas - later claiming he was racially abused by Marseille's Alvaro, allegations that the defender denied - with Paredes and Layvin Kurzawa also receiving their marching orders.

While Neymar, Paredes and Kurzawa will be missing on Wednesday, Tuchel has been handed a boost with the return of both Marquinhos and Icardi, with only Mbappe still in quarantine.

Marco Verratti and new signing Alessandro Florenzi both started against Marseille, though the Italy duo have not been included in Tuchel's 21-man squad to face Metz.

Goalkeeper Navas did not make the bench on Sunday, though could be set to replace Sergio Rico, who has signed permanently from Sevilla following a successful loan spell.

Neymar is facing a four-game ban for striking Alvaro Gonzalez after he accused the Marseille defender of racism, according to former Paris Saint-Germain winger Jerome Rothen.

The Brazilian superstar was one of five players to be sent off at the end of Sunday's Classique, which Marseille won 1-0 at the Parc des Princes.

A VAR check showed Neymar striking Alvaro on the back of the head, with the forward later saying he was subjected to a racial slur – an allegation his opponent has since categorically denied.

PSG and Marseille have fully backed their respective players and are awaiting a review from French football's governing body, the Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP).

A decision could be made as early as Wednesday and Rothen is expecting Neymar to be hit with an extended suspension.


"For Neymar, it will be four games, I'm sure," he told RMC Sport. "I've been there before after fighting on a field. I had four games."

PSG also had Leandro Paredes and Layvin Kurzawa sent off in Sunday's heated clash, while Jordan Amavi and Dario Benedetto saw red for Marseille.

Reigning Ligue 1 champions and Champions League finalists PSG have kicked off their 2020-21 campaign with back-to-back losses, having also been beaten 1-0 at Lens last week.

Thomas Tuchel's side are back in action on Wednesday with a home league meeting against Metz, before taking on Nice, Reims and Angers in the next 16 days.

Could Tottenham and Gareth Bale reunite?

Bale, who left Tottenham for Real Madrid in 2013, is not wanted in the Spanish capital.

While Manchester Untied are reportedly interested, former club Spurs are Bale's preference.

 

TOP STORY – SPURS LEAD BALE RACE

Tottenham are ahead of Premier League rivals Manchester United in the pursuit of Real Madrid outcast Gareth Bale, according to ESPN.

Bale has reportedly been told he can leave Madrid after falling out of favour with head coach Zinedine Zidane.

The Welshman wants to return to former club Tottenham after leaving Spurs for Madrid in 2013 and the Telegraph claims Dele Alli could be included in a deal to bring Bale back to London.

While United's interest is believed to be serious, it all depends on whether they are able to sign number one target and Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Transfer Podcast reports United believe that if they leave final negotiations for Sancho until the last week of the transfer window, Dortmund will eventually cave in and sell the England international. Dortmund have refused to budge on their €120million (£108m) valuation.

- The Mirror claims Arsenal are close to offloading unwanted trio Sead Kolasinac, Matteo Guendouzi and Lucas Torreira. Kolasinac has been linked to West Ham, Valencia are considering Guendouzi and Torreira has been tipped to join Torino. The Gunners want to keep full-back Hector Bellerin but he may be sold to Paris Saint-Germain.

Roma are poised to sign Juventus full-back Mattia De Sciglio, reports Fabrizio Romano. It comes as Juve close in on Roma striker Edin Dzeko, while Roma Press says the latter are set to complete the capture of Hellas Verona defender Marash Kumbulla. He had been linked to Inter, Lazio and Juve.

-  Luis Suarez's move to Juve has collapsed, says RAC1. The Barcelona veteran had been tipped to leave Camp Nou for Turin but a delay in an Italian citizenship test has reportedly scuppered the deal. Atletico Madrid are now an option for the Uruguayan.

- The Mail claims Bayern Munich are ready to renew their interest in Chelsea winger Callum Hudson-Odoi. The Englishman was linked to Bayern last year before opting to sign a new deal. Now, Hudson-Odoi could swap London for Munich before the October 5 deadline, with Juve also reportedly eyeing the Chelsea star.

- Diario AS reports Turkish giants Fenerbahce are eyeing Atletico's Diego Costa. Fenerbahce just sold striker Vedat Muriqi to Lazio and may use the transfer funds to bring Costa to Istanbul.

United had been favourites to land Sergio Reguilon from Madrid but the Telegraph and widespread reports say Tottenham are poised to sign the Spanish full-back. United have been reluctant to include a buy-back clause in any deal with Madrid.

- According to Sport Bild, Liverpool have contacted Bayern regarding Thiago Alcantara but the asking price is too high. United and Barca are also reportedly interested.

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