Tuchel calls for Champions League patience after Ligue 1 glory

By Sports Desk April 21, 2019

Thomas Tuchel said Paris Saint-Germain must be patient in their Champions League quest after clinching back-to-back Ligue 1 titles.

PSG's domestic domination continued on Sunday thanks to Lille's 0-0 draw at Toulouse and a 3-1 victory over Monaco in Paris.

Kylian Mbappe's hat-trick against his former side sealed a sixth Ligue 1 trophy in seven seasons for PSG, whose campaign was derailed by a shock Champions League last-16 defeat to Manchester United in March.

PSG head coach Tuchel celebrated the title in his maiden season at the helm, while referencing Juve's wait for European glory, which dates back to 1996.

"We had a very serious first half, we are not in our best period, but we had a good game," Tuchel said via Canal+.

"Played with a good rhythm until the hour of the game. After the third goal, we lost the ball a little more. But we won, it was important. It was always complicated.

"If we win the Coupe de France, the season will be successful, the championship shows that we have worked hard.

"The Champions League is a goal, but even Juventus have been waiting for eight years. But the goal is to win the double each year, and it is achieved."

Neymar returned from a foot injury at home to Monaco, while PSG team-mate Edinson Cavani also made his comeback in the French capital.

Cavani came on in the second half and the Uruguay international – who has been linked with a move away from PSG – insisted he is happy to see out the remaining year of his contract.

"I am under contract here for another year," the 32-year-old forward. "I am good here, calm, and very happy with the team, as well as the supporters. That said, you never know in football."

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    Thomas Tuchel is unsure over the severity of injuries to Paris Saint-Germain forwards Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani, but confirmed he wants Neymar to stay.

    Neymar was left out of Tuchel's squad for Sunday's 4-0 Ligue 1 win at home to Toulouse, with Cavani and Mbappe both substituted after sustaining injuries.

    Cavani went off in the first half after an attempted volley while Mbappe had to be withdrawn following the break having seemingly pulled his hamstring, PSG also losing Abdou Diallo to a head injury.

    "I do not know if it's serious for Mbappe and Cavani," Tuchel said to Canal+.

    "If they will be back for the start of the Champions League? I do not think about that.

    "These are different injuries and in different actions. We must look for the reasons. It's always like that.

    "I am a little disappointed because we were strong at the moment. And every injury is too much for me, because we want to work with the whole group. It's difficult."

    Neymar continues to be linked with a move away, sporting director Leonardo having previously confirmed the Brazil star intends to depart after two years in Paris.

    A return to Barcelona has been mooted for the 27-year-old but LaLiga rivals Real Madrid are also reportedly keen to do a deal for the forward.

    Neymar has not played for PSG this season amid the continued uncertainty over his future and Tuchel wants a resolution quickly, with Europe's transfer window set to close on September 2.

    "It has always been our goal. Close this case as soon as possible," Tuchel added.

    "Leonardo knows that I want to keep him. But that doesn't depend only on him.

    "The situation is not very clear, yes. And we must clear it up."

    PSG face Metz on Friday in their last game before the international break but Tuchel does not know if Neymar will be available.

    "It's not just my decision," he said.

  • Barcelona stepped up in absence of Messi and Suarez, says two-goal Griezmann Barcelona stepped up in absence of Messi and Suarez, says two-goal Griezmann

    Antoine Griezmann felt Barcelona stepped up in the absence of Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez to get their first LaLiga win of the season against Real Betis on Sunday.

    The €120million signing from Atletico Madrid got off the mark for his new club in the 41st minute to cancel out Nabil Fekir's opener, before adding a wonderful second to put Ernesto Valverde's side ahead five minutes after the interval.

    The hosts went on to win 5-2 and banish the disappointment of last week's opening defeat to Athletic Bilbao, and Griezmann, while admitting there is still plenty of work to be done, says he was impressed by how Barca coped without injured duo Messi and Suarez.

    "We have improved a lot and we still have details to improve, although this is going in the right direction," he told Movistar.

    "In the end, when many important people are missing, everyone takes a step forward and today it has been like that.

    "After a defeat there are many comments and we had to work hard this week and in the end we played a great game. We have enjoyed it."

    Carles Perez, Jordi Alba and Arutro Vidal were also on target for Barca before Loren Moron added a superb consolation late on for the visitors.

  • Joao Felix backed to become 'one of the best' Joao Felix backed to become 'one of the best'

    Joao Felix can become "one of the best", according to Atletico Madrid goalkeeper Jan Oblak.

    Atletico beat Leganes 1-0 courtesy of a second-half goal from Vitolo, who was played in by €120million signing Joao Felix for the decisive strike.

    Oblak heaped praise on the 19-year-old's performance while hailing the team's game management across a contest in which they survived 10 attempts on goal from Leganes.

    "I knew he had great talent, great potential," Oblak said of his Portugal international team-mate.

    "The club has made a lot of effort to bring him here and we all agree that they have brought a high-quality player and that he can become one of the best, for sure.

    "At the moment he is playing very well and hopefully he continues like this, giving us joy.

    "It was a complicated game. Any team will have problems here against Leganes.

    "Vitolo came on and scored the winning goal but in general the whole team played in the best possible way. We have defended well, we have suffered.

    "It is important to know how to suffer because you cannot dominate the whole game."

    Diego Simeone echoed Oblak's comments about Leganes, against whom he fielded a back three rather than his usual four.

    The approach paid off as Atleti ground out a second win in as many games.

    Simeone told reporters: "We needed to win and tried to do so in different ways. We changed things around and we won.

    "Leganes never allow you to relax - they're very strong at home."

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