Thomas Tuchel believes Andre Villas-Boas' claim Paris Saint-Germain are in "another league" to their domestic rivals was simply an attempt to manage Marseille fans' expectations ahead of Le Classique.

Villas-Boas said this week that Sunday's clash at the Parc de Princes matters little to him, given PSG's vastly superior financial muscle.

The Ligue 1 champions have dominated in France since they were taken over by Qatar Sports Investments in 2011, winning six out of a possible eight league titles.

PSG are also responsible for paying the two biggest transfer fees of all time, shattering the world record when they spent €222million to get Neymar from Barcelona in 2017, while Kylian Mbappe cost a reported €180m from Monaco.

Tuchel brushed off Villas-Boas' claim PSG – who went into this weekend with a five-point lead at the Ligue 1 summit – have an unfair advantage, saying the nature of their rivalry means anything can happen.

"Maybe I would say the same thing if I was the Marseille coach to manage the expectations of the fans," he told a media conference.

"I can understand his opinion because we are in a good period at PSG. We are strong and we have won a lot of titles in recent years. I also consider this to be an isolated match in the league, where the standings of either club don't matter.

"We are not afraid of Marseille and we expect a special atmosphere, like you would have in a Champions League or cup game.

"We like these kinds of atmospheres and are very competitive in them. We are ready to challenge them. This is a big challenge; we expect Marseille to play with intensity and aggression."

Edinson Cavani failed to make it off the bench for the second consecutive game against Club Brugge on Tuesday as he nears a comeback from a hip injury.

Tuchel says the Uruguay international was disappointed not to feature but the PSG boss stands by his decision to reintroduce him slowly.

"He was disappointed, of course, because it's Edinson and he's used to playing with us," he added.

"He missed a lot of games because of his injury. I talked with him. On the one hand, I want to give him minutes because he deserved it and worked super hard to be ready. 

"On the other hand, I have to think about the team, to balance it. I cannot promise him he will play 15 or 20 minutes. It depends on tactical circumstances and injuries. It's hard for me to know.

"I know he's disappointed, but he does not show it in training. I hope he will stay with the same state of mind and I will try to give him some minutes. He needs it to regain rhythm."

Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain and Atletico Madrid are among a host of major clubs interested in signing Brescia midfielder Sandro Tonali, according to the club's owner and president Massimo Cellino.

Tonali, 19, is one of Italy's brightest prospects, having broken into Brescia's first-team picture at the age of 17.

A technically gifted deep-lying playmaker who is often likened to Azzurri great Andrea Pirlo, Tonali made his first appearance for Italy in the Euro 2020 qualifying win over Liechtenstein on October 15.

He played 34 league games last season as Brescia were crowned Serie B champions and earned promotion back to the top flight, with many expecting the midfielder to be snapped up by a bigger club.

Brescia have managed to hold onto him, though, with Cellino suggesting it would take an eye-watering €300million for the club to part with him.

Asked by La Gazzetta dello Sport who was interested in Tonali, Cellino said: "All the big Italian clubs. Abroad there's Atletico Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City, but in my view, he'd be better off remaining a key player with Brescia.

"His agent and his parents were telling me about this €50million evaluation. I replied that for me he is worth €300million, which means I don't want to sell.

"I have a dream. If Sandro accepts, I am ready to make a big financial sacrifice to extend his contract. It's up to him to decide. He can stay here and enjoy his football or go to a big club and risk being left on the bench."

Kylian Mbappe is long admired by Real Madrid and they are again intent on adding the 20-year-old to their front line, it seems.

Mbappe was linked with a switch to the Santiago Bernabeu before opting to stay in Ligue 1 when joining Paris Saint-Germain from Monaco in the 2017-18 season.

The Spanish giants have not forgotten about the France international, though, and are planning to move two superstars on in order to get their man, according to reports.

 

TOP STORY – MBAPPE BACK ON MADRID'S RADAR WITH BALE AND JAMES TO MAKE WAY

Real Madrid were unable to land Kylian Mbappe a couple of seasons ago, but they are keen to sign him over the next few transfer windows, according to Calciomercato.

Mbappe is one of world football's star names and would fit into the old Galactico culture at Madrid, although Los Blancos would need to offload two star names in order to raise finances and complete a deal with Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain.

One of those names is Gareth Bale, who is still reportedly unhappy at Madrid, while Colombia playmaker James Rodriguez could also move on having struggled at times to find form this season following a loan spell at Bayern Munich.

It remains to be seen whether any club is willing to pay the substantial transfer fee and wages required to secure either of the duo, but if they do make way then it could pave the way for Mbappe's move.

 

ROUND-UP

- Staying in Madrid and ElDesmarque believe Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba could be heading to Real Madrid in exchange for Gareth Bale and €90million.

- Bleacher Report claim Mesut Ozil's advisors are trying to convince the Arsenal playmaker to make a switch to MLS.

- Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly is the number one transfer target for Manchester City, according to Calciomercato.

- Manchester Evening News are reporting City may also take up their option to buy back Douglas Luiz from Aston Villa.

- Frank Lampard is hopefully of securing Fikayo Tomori and Tammy Abraham to new contracts at Chelsea, Goal have said.

- Athletic Bilbao defender Unai Nunez is a January transfer target for Bayern Munich, say Spox.

- Argentina striker Lautaro Martinez's contract talks with Inter have been put on ice as Barcelona and United circle for the 22-year-old's signature, according to Calciomercato.

Wissam Ben Yedder has warned opponents that Monaco are building into their season nicely as they moved into the top half of Ligue 1 for the first time this season with a 1-0 win at Nantes.

The Tunisian striker is the league's top scorer after his ninth goal of the season proved to be the difference in the west of France on Friday night.

It was a fifth consecutive win for Monaco after a winless first six games where they conceded 14 goals, as Leonardo Jardim's men eye improvement after avoiding relegation by two points last season.

Ben Yedder's formidable partnership with Algerian striker Islam Slimani has been one of the reasons for Monaco's upturn and says there are no limits as he strives to get Monaco up the league.

"This is a deserved victory for Monaco but irresistible is a big word," he told reporters.

"I have no limit, I always try and do more and continue to score for the team and for me. I am very satisfied as it's always nice to score.

"We are working and building our game collectively to get good results.

"But the title of top scorer is not the most important thing. Monaco had a hard time last year and early in the season, but we try to come back little by little."

Goalkeeper Benjamin Lecomte said the club are still aiming to make a return to next season's Champions League.

"It's games like this that can revive us," he added.

"Psychologically this victory is very good. We will see if it launches our season, but the podium is the goal of our club."

The future of Sergej Milinkovic-Savic is once again in the headlines.

Lazio star Milinkovic-Savic has been linked with Manchester United, Juventus, Real Madrid, Inter and Paris Saint-Germain.

Now another club are reportedly in the mix for the Serbia international midfielder.

 

TOP STORY – CHELSEA EYE MILINKOVIC-SAVIC

Chelsea sent scouts to watch Lazio star Sergej Milinkovic-Savic in the Europa League, reports TuttoMercato.

One of the most in-demand midfielders in Europe, Milinkovic-Savic has attracted interest from Manchester United, Real Madrid, Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain and Inter.

Milinkovic-Savic – who was reportedly set to join United if Paul Pogba left Old Trafford – was watched as Lazio lost 2-1 to Celtic in Glasgow on Thursday.

 

ROUND-UP

- Staying at Stamford Bridge and The Sun claims Chelsea are interested in Bournemouth forward Callum Wilson and RB Leipzig star Timo Werner.

Manchester United have rekindled their interest in Bayern Munich's Thomas Muller, according to Sport BILD. Muller was wanted by former United boss Louis van Gaal before the Dutchman's departure in 2016. Now with Muller seeking a Bayern exit, United and Inter are in the mix for the Germany international.

- The prospect of Zlatan Ibrahimovic joining Antonio Conte's Inter has hit a snag. According to CalcioMercato, the presence of agent Mino Raiola could cause an issue in talks. Ibrahimovic's LA Galaxy contract is coming to an end and the veteran has been linked to Napoli and Bologna.

- Sky Sport Italia says free agent Jack Rodwell is set for a shock move to Serie A outfit Roma. The former Manchester City midfielder, who spent time at Blackburn Rovers last season, is poised to undergo a medical.

Rivaldo believes Kylian Mbappe "must leave" Paris Saint-Germain for LaLiga or the Premier League to confirm himself as the heir to superstar Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Mbappe has established himself as one of the best forwards in the world, having claimed silverware with Monaco and PSG, while he helped France to World Cup glory in 2018.

The 20-year-old sensation – who has been nominated for the Ballon d'Or – continues to be linked with LaLiga giants Real Madrid following his exploits for the Ligue 1 holders in Paris.

While Rivaldo doubts the chances of former club Barcelona signing Mbappe, he called on the Frenchman to leave PSG to fulfil his enormous potential.

"I think it would be tough for Barcelona to sign him in the future, as he is very expensive due to his young age, world champion status and natural ability that makes him one of the biggest prospects in the world of football," Rivaldo told Betfair.com.

"If Barca had so many problems in trying to sign Neymar, just imagine how much PSG would be asking for the Frenchman, so it's almost impossible to bring this excellent player to Catalonia at the moment.

"There's no doubt Mbappe has the qualities to become one of the best in the world, as he is playing great football and has huge potential. He would be able to develop his talent by playing LaLiga or the Premier League. Ligue 1 is clearly below the competitive level of Spain or England.

"With all due respect to PSG, I believe he must leave for a Spanish or big English team in the future to confirm himself as the heir to Messi or Ronaldo. The best players need to play in the best leagues."

Mbappe came off the bench and scored a hat-trick in a devastating performance as PSG routed Club Brugge 5-0 in the Champions League on Tuesday.

The PSG star became the youngest player to score 15 Champions League goals aged 20 years, 306 days, eclipsing Barca's Messi – who was 21 years, 288 days.

Mbappe has scored six goals across all competitions for Thomas Tuchel's PSG this season.

Kylian Mbappe cannot win the Ballon d'Or with Paris Saint-Germain, according to former Liverpool forward El Hadji Diouf.

The talented 20-year-old finished fourth in the voting in 2018 after winning the World Cup with France.

Mbappe topped the scoring charts in Ligue 1 last season with 33 goals, but ex-Senegal international Diouf views performances in the Premier League as being more valuable.

He believes two of Liverpool's seven Ballon d'Or nominees deserve to join Lionel Messi in this year's top three.

"I think Sadio Mane had a better year than Kylian Mbappe," Diouf told Le Parisien. "He deserves the Ballon d'Or more from a personal and collective point of view.

"We cannot compare Ligue 1 and the Premier League. For me, it would be Messi, [Virgil] van Dijk and Mane, because of the league where they evolve.

"You know that to win the Ballon d'Or, you have to leave France.

"The only player who managed to win it by being in Ligue 1 is Jean-Pierre Papin. And he played in a Marseille team that reached the final of the Champions League [the 1990-91 European Cup].

"You can lose the final and win the Ballon d'Or, but you cannot if you are eliminated in the round of 16."

George Weah spent half of 1995 at PSG before switching to Serie A giants AC Milan and winning European football's top individual prize.

Diouf thinks the scorer of this week's sublime Champions League hat-trick against Club Brugge can claim the Ballon d'Or several times over if he makes a similar move to a leading club in an elite league.

In May, Mbappe hinted he could be ready for a new challenge, fuelling links to Real Madrid.

"He can win the Ballon d'Or at least five times, because he is so young and has talent," Diouf said. "But he has to go to an institution."

Antoine Griezmann scored his fourth goal in eight LaLiga appearances for Barcelona as the Spanish champions beat Eibar 3-0, and he leads the line in this week's FIFA 20 FUT Team of the Week.

The France World Cup winner is joined by an all-star cast in this week's line-up, including Paris Saint-Germain's in-form winger Angel Di Maria.

After scoring twice in his side's 4-1 victory at Nice in Ligue 1, Di Maria was in scintillating form as PSG beat Club Brugge 5-0 in the Champions League.

Not all of this week's selection are competing towards the top of their respective domestic leagues, with Watford's Abdoulaye Doucoure earning a place for his goal-scoring performance in the Premier League basement club's 1-1 draw with Tottenham.

Monaco are 14th in Ligue 1 and they will need more of the same from Wissam Ben Yedder if they are to turn their season around - he scored a brace in their 3-2 win over Rennes.

Find out who else made FIFA's Ultimate Team line-up below.

FUT Team of the Week

GK: Stephane Ruffier (Saint-Etienne) - 86

CB: Mats Hummels (Borussia Dortmund) - 88

CB: Marcos Alonso (Chelsea) - 84

CB: Yerry Mina (Everton) - 82

CM: Dani Parejo (Valencia) - 87

CAM: Taison (Shakhtar Donetsk) - 84

CM: Abdoulaye Doucoure (Watford) - 84

RW: Radja Nainggolan (Cagliari) - 85

LW: Antoine Griezmann (Barcelona) - 90

RW: Angel Di Maria (PSG) - 87

ST: Wissam Ben Yedder (Monaco) - 85

SUBSTITUTES

GK: Alfred Gomis (Dijon) - 81

CB: William Troost-Ekong (Udinese) - 81

CDM: Tomas Soucek (Slavia Prague) - 82

LM: Petros Mantalos (AEK Athens) - 81

ST: Lautaro Martinez (Inter) - 84

ST: Angel (Getafe) - 82

LW: Jack Grealish (Aston Villa) - 81

RESERVES

LM: Mislav Orsic (Dinamo Zagreb) - 79

LM: Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders) - 78

ST: Andreas Cornelius (Parma) - 80

ST: Daniel Candeias (Genclerbirligi) - 79

ST: Henok Goitom (AIK) - 78

Neymar has affirmed he is now happy at Paris Saint-Germain following the arrival of "fun" new team-mates.

The Brazil international attempted to engineer a move back to Barcelona during a turbulent close season.

Negotiations between the clubs failed, leaving Neymar in a precarious position at Parc des Princes.

He insisted the situation is now "all good" in part due to the value of fresh faces in the French capital, along with his close friendship with Kylian Mbappe.

Mauro Icardi, Pablo Sarabia, Ander Herrera and more joined PSG ahead of Thomas Tuchel's second season in charge.

"The vibe there has never stopped being cool. It has always been good," Neymar told OTRO.

"It is the year that has more people who are easy to talk to, to get along with. The new people who arrived are fun, they are focused, they are good players.

"It's a very large squad, so you end up having special affinity with one, two or three. You don't have an affinity with everyone. But, for a good workplace, you need to have a good relationship with everyone.

"And with Kylian it's different. He's an incredible kid, he's joyful, he's happy. Not to mention his football, which is amazing.

"We get along really well both on and off the pitch. I think this makes thing easier, for our game, for our team, because we always help each other, and this is reflected in our team, of course."

Neymar's efforts to leave PSG upset the club's supporters, who booed the world's most expensive player on his return to the team in September.

Four goals in five Ligue 1 games have gone some way to placating the critics and providing evidence behind Neymar's assurance that he is fully committed to performing on the pitch.

"Soon the love will return, God willing," he said of his relationship with the fans.

"It is normal, I understand their feelings too. I understand what goes on, or I can try to understand what goes on in their minds. But I ask them to understand me too.

"I think when you're not happy, regardless of what your job is, you try to change, you try to find new places, a new profession so that you find yourself.

"So this is what I tried to do, but I ended up staying. And I will give it my best."

Neither Kylian Mbappe nor Edinson Cavani will be fit enough to play the full 90 minutes against Club Brugge in the Champions League on Tuesday, according to coach Thomas Tuchel.

PSG have included Mbappe and Cavani in their travelling party for the trip to Belgium, but Tuchel has a decision to make about how long they feature for, if at all.

Mbappe returned to action against Nice last Friday, scoring as a substitute in the 4-1 win following three weeks out with a thigh strain.

Cavani did not get off the bench in Nice, with the Uruguay star being managed more carefully given his absence of almost two months with a hip injury.

Tuchel could start both in theory, but the German insists neither can play the full 90 minutes.

"We're here with 17 players plus three goalkeepers, as usual," he told reporters on Monday. "But it's still too much for Kylian to play 90 minutes, we have to decide if he starts or ends the game.

"It's the same with Edi [Cavani]. I have a few ideas, a lot of things in my head, but I do not have the XI yet, because we still have one last training session.

"It's great that Kylian and Edi are with us. It was very long without them, but the others took the opportunity.

"Now we're stronger with them but we have to think about the best match-for-match solution. It is clear that without Ney, Edi and Kylian we lack quality and experience, but the other players proved that we were able to play at a very high level.

"But for me, we talk too much. This is the Champions League, an away game, it's the hardest in Europe."

Marseille head coach Andre Villas-Boas believes Paris Saint-Germain's spending power means they are operating in "another league" from their domestic rivals in France.

The Parisian giants have dominated Ligue 1 since they were taken over by Qatar Sports Investments in 2011, winning six out of a possible eight league titles.

They are also responsible for paying the two biggest transfer fees of all time, shattering the record when they spent €222million to get Neymar from Barcelona in 2017, while Kylian Mbappe cost €135m from Monaco.

Unsurprisingly, they have wasted little time in stamping their authority on the league again this season, racing into a five-point lead at the summit after 10 games.

Marseille travel to Parc des Princes for Le Classique on Sunday but Villas-Boas says the game matters little to him, given their opponents' financial muscle.

"We're going to have a completely different game against a team that, for me, is not part of this championship because of the investments they've made over the years," he told the media after his side's 2-0 win over Strasbourg on Sunday.

"We're going to try to play the game for the game's sake, but it's a game that doesn't mean much to me. PSG-Marseille, or Marseille-PSG, for me, this is an opportunity to try to do something.

"We obviously dream of winning, but it's a team from another league. It was a Classique in the past. But we're going to Paris; we're going to think of a strategy to play. The most important thing is to have possession of the ball there."

Marseille are fourth in Ligue 1, having picked up 16 points from their opening 10 games.

A goalless draw with Dijon means Lyon are enduring their worst Ligue 1 run of form in terms of wins since 1977.

Les Gones have drawn four and lost four of their past eight league games, marking the first time in 42 years they have gone such a stretch without a win in the same season.

Lyon managed 24 shots to Dijon's six on Saturday but could not find a breakthrough, meaning they are just a point above the bottom three after 10 matches this term.

Since a 6-0 thrashing of Angers on August 16, their only victory in any competition was the surprise 2-0 away defeat of RB Leipzig in the Champions League on October 2.

A 1-0 loss to rivals Saint-Etienne led to the departure of head coach Sylvinho, with Rudi Garcia named as his replacement on Monday.

Garcia's past opening league matches in charge of a Ligue 1 team in have ended in 0-0 draws. His Lille side were held at home by Nancy in August 2008, and Marseille drew with Paris Saint-Germain in October 2016.

Lyon head to Benfica in the Champions League on Wednesday before they host bottom-of-the-table Metz next weekend.

Nice coach Patrick Vieira said he did not understand the referee's decision to send off Wylan Cyprien in their 4-1 defeat to leader's Paris Saint-Germain.  

PSG moved five points clear at the top of Ligue 1 with the win in the Riviera, but a controversial second yellow card shown to Cyprien for dissent turned the momentum of the game.

Kylian Mbappe was then introduced for the final seven minutes on his return from a hamstring injury, as he scored and assisted to secure the points for PSG.

Vieira said he had spoken to the officials after the game but was no clearer on Cyprien's dismissal off, the first of two red cards in three minutes.

"The second yellow for Cyprien? I still do not understand the explanations of the referee," he told reporters.

"Wylan did not insult or disrespect the referee. I find it very severe and unfair.

"It is a half gesture of mood as one sees in all matches. The red for (Christophe) Herelle I can understand a little more.

"We came up against a team that was much better than ours, but that does not detract from the talent there is in our team."

Nice remain in mid-table and six points off second-place Nantes.

PSG head coach Thomas Tuchel will ensure lessons are learned from their second-half performance after a 4-1 win over Nice on Friday.

Angel Di Maria gave Les Parisiens a two-goal lead on the south coast of France, but Nice mounted a second-half comeback when Ignatius Ganago pulled a goal back.

The home team was reduced to nine men with two red cards in three minutes before Kylian Mbappe's introduction helped seal the win as he came on to score and assist late on.

Tuchel said after the game that his team lacked precision and determination in the second half but was happy to come back from the international break with three points.

"At the beginning of the second period we forgot to close out the match," he told reporters.

"Nice played with another system, took more risks and we made easy mistake just before the (Ganago's) goal. Then after the two red's the match was decided.

"It may be a good lesson for us, as we also lost control against Galatasaray after our goal.

"At the start of a six game, intense series of games it's always good to start with a win and we had a very good first half."

Nice had started the second half brightly but a second yellow card to Wylan Cyprien shown for dissent turned the momentum back in PSG's favour at the Allianz Riviera.

"I received a charge that was not whistled and in frustration, I asked the referee with a slight gesture if there was no fault," Cyprien said.

"He shows me a second yellow card explaining that my gesture is too vehement, even though I told him I didn't disrespect or insult him.

"His decision had a major impact and I'm not sure if we would have equalised but he could have been more thoughtful. I think it's severe."

Kylian Mbappe scored one and set up another on his return to action as Paris Saint-Germain claimed a 4-1 win against Nice, who finished Friday's Ligue 1 match with nine men.

The France forward, who sat out the international break due to a hamstring issue, replaced Pablo Sarabia in the 83rd minute at Allianz Riviera and helped kill off the game after the hosts threatened a comeback.

Ignatius Ganago pulled one back for Nice with 23 minutes to play following Angel Di Maria's first-half brace, but their momentum was disrupted by red cards for Wylan Cyprien and Christophe Herelle in quick succession.

Mbappe then marked his comeback with PSG's third and set up Mauro Icardi for a fourth, sending his five points clear of closest challengers Nantes at the summit.

Nice have failed to keep a clean sheet in the league this term and would have been behind inside three minutes if not for Walter Benitez's quickfire triple save.

But Di Maria made no mistake when played in behind by Mauro Icardi with 15 minutes gone, the former Real Madrid man curling the ball into the far corner.

Di Maria's second arrived six minutes later as he latched onto Thomas Meunier's pass and lifted an exquisite finish over Benitez with a first-time lob from a tight angle.

Marquinhos was denied by the crossbar early in the second half and Nice were back in the match when Ganago drilled in off the underside of the bar.

Cyprien was shown a second yellow card for dissent and Herelle was also dismissed three minutes later – following a VAR review – for brushing Leandro Paredes' face with his hand.

Late substitute Mbappe made Nice pay, squeezing a right-footed effort home from inside the box in the 88th minute.

Mbappe then turned provider, picking out Icardi for a simple finish on the breakaway in stoppage time.

 

What does it mean? PSG power on without Neymar

Neymar is expected to miss around a month after sustaining a hamstring injury on Brazil duty, while impressive midfielder Idrissa Gueye was also ruled out of this match.

However, PSG, even with Edinson Cavani an unused substitute, showed no signs of slowing down in their pursuit of a third successive Ligue 1 title - helped in no small part by Mbappe's return.

Di Maria steps up once again

Di Maria again showed why he has been one of PSG's most reliant performers this year. His first-half brace means he has been involved in 20 Ligue 1 goals in 2019 - only the returning Mbappe (28) has contributed to more.

Marquinhos bailed out

Marquinhos was brought on for Thiago Silva at half-time and it was his error that gifted Nice their temporary route back into the game. The defender slipped when attempting to control a cross, allowing Kasper Dolberg to set up Ganago for what turned out to be just a consolation goal.

What's next?

PSG travel to Club Brugge in the Champions League in midweek, while Nice have an eight-day break before making the trip to Strasbourg for their next outing.

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