Lionel Messi has been encouraged by Ronald Koeman's impact since becoming Barcelona coach but feels the club is so financially crippled that "it will be difficult to get back where it was".

Messi was speaking to La Sexta in one of his first interviews since telling the club of his desire to leave in August. 

Barca stood firm back then, refusing to allow him to depart despite Messi insisting the get-out clause in his contract was still valid – the Argentinian ultimately opted against pursuing the matter any further. 

Although he stayed put, Messi's future and mindset have been constant sources of debate in the four months since. 

The highly publicised interview, which aired in full on Sunday, saw Messi vow not to decide on his future until the end of the season despite being able to discuss a free transfer with another club in less than a week. 

And while there are plenty of fans unimpressed by Koeman's start with the club - they sit fifth after 14 games - Messi was complimentary about the Dutchman. 

"I think that with Ronald Koeman, he has projected a seriousness and an idea of what he wants for his team and what he wants for the club," Messi said. 

"I think that it was a great success and that he is doing things very well. At the beginning it was difficult because there were a lot of new people, a lot of young players, but little by little the team is growing." 

One aspect that some believe could count in Barca's favour with respect to Messi's future is the fact a new president will be in place by the end of January, with Joan Laporta the favourite to succeed Josep Maria Bartomeu and take charge for a second time. 

But Messi certainly does not envy anyone stepping into such a position, given the state of Barca financially, and suggested fans should not get their hopes up about the prospect of Neymar returning. 

"For this [the club's finances] it is a difficult time for the club, as it is everyone," he continued. "But from what we know, the club is really bad [financially] – very bad. It will be difficult to get back where it was.

"It won't be easy for the new president because they will find a very difficult situation at the club. It won't be easy to turn it around. 

"I hope whoever wins [the election] does things well to put this great club where it deserves to be - and where it isn't at the moment. 

"It will also be difficult to bring players because we need money and there is no money. There are several important players [required] to fight again for everything, and those players you have to pay them big money. 

"I was laughing because you said Neymar must be very expensive. And how do you pay PSG for that transfer?" 

Messi then also hit out once again at Barca's "crazy" decision to let Luis Suarez leave to Atletico Madrid, whom he has helped to the top of LaLiga. 

"I had already decided [I wanted to leave] before that," Messi mused.

"But it did seem crazy to me what they did with Luis, speaking in the specific case of Luis, because of how things were done, because of how he left, and because he left for free, paying him for the remaining years of his contract and giving him to a team that was going to fight for the same titles as us."

Lionel Messi has vowed to ignore the advances of other clubs until at least the end of the season despite becoming eligible for a free transfer in a matter of days.

Messi's contract with Barcelona expires on June 30, meaning he is legally able to discuss a future free transfer with another club from six months before that date.

The 33-year-old Barca captain and talisman attempted to force a move away from Barca in August after the Blaugrana surrendered the league title to Real Madrid and lost 8-2 to Bayern Munich in the Champions League.

Barca stood firm and refused to let him depart despite Messi being adamant a get-out clause in his contract was still valid – the Argentinian opting against dragging the club through the courts.

He is now the master of his own destiny as Barca's contractual hold on him will diminish once he enters the final six months of his agreement, with Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City expected to fight it out for the six-time Ballon d'Or winner.

But Messi reassured Barca fans he will wait until the conclusion of the season before making any decisions, a potentially huge boost to the club given a new president will be in place by the end of January.

Speaking to La Sexta in a highly publicised interview on Sunday, when asked if he will start talking with new clubs next week, Messi said: "No, far from it. That would go against everything I've been saying.

"My plan is to give all I can for the club at the moment. Nothing is decided until the end of the season. Now I only think about finishing the season and winning titles.

"I know there are a lot of Barca people who still love me, but I'm going to do what is best for the club and for myself. Besides, I want to live in Barcelona and be in the club in some way when I retire.

"I don't know if I'm going to leave, but if I do, I would like to leave in the best way and be able to return to the club in the future. Barcelona is much bigger than any player.

"It's a love story from a very young age with the club and the city. Either way, everything that my career has meant should not be stained [by this saga]."

But while he offered no hints as to whether City or PSG were enticing options for him, Messi did reveal a desire to live on the other side of the Atlantic.

"I always had the dream of living in the United States, living this experience," he said. "Today I am focused on these six months, on fighting for what I can and not thinking about how the year will end because it wouldn't be good for me to say what I am going to do. I don't know either."

What does the future hold for Phil Foden?

Foden is highly rated at Manchester City, but he is struggling for regular game time.

Could Real Madrid prise the Englishman to the Santiago Bernabeu?

 

TOP STORY – LOS BLANCOS EYE FODEN

LaLiga champions Real Madrid are ready to pounce for Manchester City's Phil Foden, according to the Mirror.

City sensation Foden has been struggling for regular game time under manager Pep Guardiola, starting just five of his 10 Premier League appearances this season.

Madrid have emerged as serious suitors for the 20-year-old sensation and there is a growing belief that he could be prised to the Spanish capital.

 

ROUND-UP

Arsenal are considering a move for Borussia Dortmund winger Julian Brandt, reports The Athletic. Out of favour at Dortmund this season, Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta is reportedly keen to reinforce his struggling side in January.

Manchester United could send Donny van de Beek to Inter on loan as they look to bring in Christian Eriksen from the Serie A side, claims Calciomercato. Eriksen is set to leave Inter in January and the Danish midfielder has been linked to Arsenal and Paris Saint-Germain.

- As question marks grow over Samir Handanovic, Calciomercato says Inter are considering Udinese goalkeeper Juan Musso as a successor to the long-serving Nerazzurri star.

Madrid are confident of re-signing veteran star Luka Modric, according to Fabrizio Romano. It comes as Madrid still try to negotiate a new contract with captain and soon-to-be free agent Sergio Ramos, who has been linked to the likes of Juventus, PSG, United and City. Modric has previously been a target for Inter and Milan.

Luka Jovic would not be against a return to Eintracht Frankfurt but the out-of-favour Madrid forward is eyeing Milan, reports Calciomercato.

It has been a year like no other, but football eventually managed to continue amid the coronavirus pandemic and give fans across the world something positive to focus on.

Ligue 1 was curtailed and a streamlined version of the Champions League knockout rounds took place in Lisbon in August, before a new season got under way.

There have still been plenty of performances to savour, though, and Stats Perform News has used Opta data to calculate a Team of the Year from the top five European leagues.

Six-time Ballon d'Or winner Lionel Messi made the grade in 2020 but the same could not be said of Juventus superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, while Kylian Mbappe earned a spot that his Paris Saint-Germain team-mate Neymar could not.

Supporters of Premier League clubs may not be rejoicing about the selections, which were made based solely on data.

 

Goalkeeper: Jan Oblak (Atletico Madrid)

Atletico lead the way in LaLiga on goal difference and have two games in hand on nearest rivals Real Madrid. Diego Simeone's side owe much of their success to Oblak, who has kept 17 clean sheets in 33 LaLiga appearances this year – the most of any keeper in the division during the same period.

Right-back: Juan Cuadrado (Juventus)

Juve won a ninth straight Scudetto this year and Cuadrado has played an important role throughout 2020, creating 45 chances (including seven assists) for the Bianconeri in Serie A – only Paulo Dybala (56) supplied more key passes for the club.

Centre-back: Mats Hummels (Borussia Dortmund)

Bayern Munich may be the dominant force in the Bundesliga, but Hummels has continued to show his worth since returning to Dortmund. He made the most interceptions (57) and completed the most passes (2,056) of any Bundesliga defender in 2020.

Centre-back: Dayot Upamecano (RB Leipzig)

France international Upamecano is one of the hottest properties in European football and has been linked with a host of elite clubs. He shows great coolness in possession – as evidenced by him completing 24 of the 33 dribbles he attempted for a success rate of 73 per cent, the best of any Bundesliga defender to try at least 30.

Left-back: Theo Hernandez (Milan)

While Upamecano has established himself with Les Bleus, Hernandez's continued absence from the France set-up despite stellar showings for a resurgent Milan remains a source of much debate. The Rossoneri will end the year top of Serie A and Hernandez has been directly involved in 102 shots (46 chances created, 56 attempts on goal) in the league in 2020. That is more than any other defender in the same period.

Centre midfield: Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich)

Kimmich's looping goal against Dortmund at the back end of last season was pivotal to Bayern retaining their German league title, which came as part of a treble. It has been the Germany international's distribution that has stood out this year, though. He completed an average of 75 passes per 90 minutes in the Bundesliga in 2020, the most of any midfielder in the competition to feature for at least 1,000 minutes.

Centre midfield: Toni Kroos (Real Madrid)

Madrid regained the title in LaLiga in 2020, with Kroos a central figure in Zinedine Zidane's midfield. Of all players who attempted at least 1,000 passes in the opposition half in the Spanish top flight this year, Kroos was the only one who had a completion rate higher than 90 per cent.

Right wing: Lionel Messi (Barcelona)

This year may have proved to be terminal to Messi's tight relationship with Barcelona, and while he was not quite up to his previous goalscoring exploits he still proved massively influential in the final third. He was the only player in LaLiga in 2020 to both score at least 15 goals and register as many assists.

Attacking midfield: Alejandro 'Papu' Gomez (Atalanta)

His time with Atalanta may seemingly be coming to an end after a falling-out with Gian Piero Gasperini, but Gomez has been one of the club's most important players. He had more assists (12) and created more chances (81) in Serie A this year than any of his team-mates.

Left wing: Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain)

PSG were crowned Ligue 1 champions despite the season being cut short in April, meaning they have played just 26 games this year. Mbappe only featured in 21 of those, but he was still directly involved in 24 goals (19 scored, five assisted) which was more than any other player in the competition in 2020.

Striker: Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)

It was no surprise to see Lewandowski named The Best FIFA Men's Player after an incredible campaign with Bayern. He scored 32 Bundesliga goals in 26 appearances this year and only five of them were spot-kicks. His tally of 27 non-penalty goals was the most of any player in the top five European leagues.

Paris Saint-Germain have sacked head coach Thomas Tuchel a day after they hammered Strasbourg 4-0, according to widespread reports.

Tuchel has come under increasing pressure this season, with champions PSG third in Ligue 1 after losing four of their 17 matches.

A rout of struggling Strasbourg on Wednesday came too late for the German boss, who was reportedly relieved of his duties on Christmas Eve.

Former Tottenham head coach Mauricio Pochettino, who spent over two years with PSG in his playing days, looks poised to replace the 47-year-old.

Tuchel masterminded back-to-back Ligue 1 title triumphs after he was appointed in May 2018, also winning the Coupe de France, Coupe de la Ligue and claiming the Trophee des Champions twice.

PSG missed out on a maiden Champions League success when they were beaten 1-0 by Bayern Munich in the final in August.

Tuchel endured a fractious relationship with sporting director Leonardo, but the Brazilian last month stated that the club had never considered sacking the former Borussia Dortmund head coach.

Criticism of PSG's lack of transfer business from Tuchel, whose contract was due to expire at the end of this season, did not go down well with Leonardo during the previous window.

PSG lost their first two Ligue 1 matches of the campaign amid a coronavirus outbreak and Tuchel then suggested a repeat of the 2019-20 campaign could not be expected due to a lack of investment in the playing squad.

Despite a less than vintage start domestically, Tuchel guided last year's runners-up into the Champions League round of 16 as Group H winners.

His replacement will do battle with Barcelona for a place in the quarter-finals.

Chelsea have reportedly joined the race for Erling Haaland as Manchester United consider their options.

Haaland, 20, has been heavily linked with a move after starring for Borussia Dortmund.

Europe's biggest clubs are lining up to sign the forward, and Chelsea are apparently among them, while United may look elsewhere.

 

TOP STORY – CHELSEA JOIN RACE FOR HAALAND

Chelsea are ready to enter the race for Dortmund star Haaland, according to 90min.

Manchester City are also reportedly heavily interested in the Norway international, who has also been linked with Manchester United and Real Madrid.

Haaland has scored 33 goals in 32 games for Dortmund since arriving at the Bundesliga club from Salzburg in January.

 

ROUND-UP

- Manchester United, meanwhile, may look elsewhere. The Mirror reports the Premier League giants may be unable to sign Haaland due to their "sour relationship" with his agent, Mino Raiola. The report says United see Everton striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin as an alternative.

- With Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez still sidelined, Liverpool continue to be linked with defenders. Todofichajes.com reports the Premier League leaders are interested in Real Madrid centre-back Eder Militao. Meanwhile, the Liverpool Echo says the club are in talks with Celta Vigo over 16-year-old defender Stefan Bajcetic.

- Struggling in the Premier League, Arsenal are expected to strengthen in January. The Daily Star reports the Gunners are considering a loan move for Real Madrid forward Vinicius Junior next month.

- After just one Premier League appearance for Chelsea this season, Antonio Rudiger has been linked with a move away. Le Parisien reports Paris Saint-Germain want the defender in January.

- Celtic forward Odsonne Edouard is apparently attracting interest from elsewhere. CalcioMercato reports Juventus and Milan are interested in the 22-year-old.

- Barcelona midfielder Riqui Puig is set to leave Camp Nou following repeated criticism from Blaugrana boss Ronald Koeman. Manchester City and Bayern Munich are both keen on the 21-year-old, according to Fichajes.

Thomas Tuchel enjoys the challenge of managing Paris Saint-Germain and insists he was mistranslated when suggesting the job is more about politics than coaching.

PSG rounded off 2020 with a routine 4-0 win over Strasbourg in Ligue 1 on Wednesday through goals from Timothee Pembele, Kylian Mbappe, Idrissa Gueye and Moise Kean.

A few hours ahead of the match, an interview with Tuchel was published by SPORT1 in which the German opened up on the demands of managing such a big club.

The 47-year-old said it can be difficult keeping players such as Neymar and Mbappe happy, while also admitting he is "sad" his achievements are often played down.

Tuchel was also quoted as saying he felt more like "a sports politician or sports minister than a coach" during his first season in the French capital.

However, Tuchel attempted to clarify the comments when questioned in the aftermath of his side's win against Strasbourg.

"I didn't say it's more about politics than sport, nor that I lost the fun of training. This is not true," he told Canal+. "It is possible they translated incorrectly.

"Watch the video interview. I just said that PSG are unique and that it's a big challenge for me. It's always been like that. I like this challenge and nothing has changed."

Asked again about the interview at his post-match news conference, Tuchel added: "I gave a video interview to a journalist who told me to do a story about German coaches.

"It is not an interview for him. It is not allowed.

"I was making a joke in German. The translation is not correct. We cannot translate word for word. It was a joke while we were talking and it is not allowed."

PSG enter the mid-season break sitting third in Ligue 1, one point behind Lyon and Lille following their victories over Nantes and Montpellier respectively.

The reigning champions took the lead inside 18 minutes through Pembele but had to wait until 11 minutes from time for Mbappe to add a second from close range.

Two more goals from substitutes Gueye and Kean followed late on in a game the home side bossed, seeing 69 per cent of the ball and managing eight shots on target to their opponents' two.

"It was a strong performance from us," Tuchel said. "And this after a very demanding first half to the season. I'm very happy today because it was a win we deserved.

"We were again missing a lot of players due to injury but were serious and disciplined with our play. That is a big compliment to the team.

"Our ranking in the table is what it is, but we know why we're here. It would have been more difficult to take if we didn't know the reasons.

"I am happy because the team has shown in the last two games we can play well."

Pembele's sliding finish was his first goal for PSG on just his fifth appearance, the teenage defender scoring from one of his rare forays forward.

He was fielded at right wing-back and played fewer passes in the opposition half (16) than any outfield PSG starter, but he showed good instincts to bag a goal that he dedicated to his parents.

"It's a great emotion for me tonight," he said. "I played in a position where I had to attack and follow all the balls. I scored my first professional goal and I'm very happy with it.

"It's a very nice Christmas present for my parents. The coach told me when there is room to attack. It was difficult since they had five at the back.

"But we were able to get the ball rolling and find ways to score. It's hard to find a place in the side, but we have a lot of games and there are also five substitutions."

Kylian Mbappe was among the scorers as Paris Saint-Germain brushed aside Strasbourg 4-0 in their final Ligue 1 outing of 2020.

The reigning champions were held to a goalless draw by Lille last time out and struggled to find their stride again in Wednesday's clash at the Parc des Princes prior to a late flurry of goals.

Timothee Pembele's first strike for the club in his fifth appearance got PSG off the mark after 18 minutes, but it took until 11 minutes from time for Mbappe to add a second from a few yards out.

Substitutes Idrissa Gueye and Moise Kean then joined the scoring as Thomas Tuchel's men picked up a third league win in seven outings, although they end the year in third place a point behind Lyon and Lille, who both won elsewhere.

Erling Haaland is Chelsea's number one transfer target, while a pair of Premier League giants are lining up January bids for Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish.

Borussia Dortmund star Haaland has netted 23 goals in 23 games since moving to the Bundesliga in January, leading to him reportedly being installed as Frank Lampard's top target for the off-season.

Will Haaland make the move to Chelsea?


TOP STORIES – CHELSEA WANT HAALAND

Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland has been identified as Chelsea's top transfer target along with West Ham's Declan Rice, according to Sky Sports journalist Angelo Mangiante.

Haaland has been linked with LaLiga champions Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester United, Manchester City and Liverpool.

But Haaland is wanted in London as Chelsea prepare for a clear-out, with seven players being made available – Antonio Rudiger, Andreas Christensen, Jorginho, Marcos Alonso, Ross Barkley, Danny Drinkwater and Victor Moses.

Kylian Mbappe's fitness struggles are causing a headache for Thomas Tuchel ahead of injury-hit Paris Saint-Germain's Ligue 1 clash with Strasbourg on Wednesday.

The rapid France striker has been struggling with his left adductors since PSG defeated Lorient 2-0 last week and his status to feature against Strasbourg remains in doubt.

Presnel Kimpembe, Layvin Kurzawa (both hamstring) and Alessandro Florenzi (ankle) have added to a PSG injury list that sits at 10 players, while the absence of Mbappe would make it 11.

Asked at a pre-match news conference how he plans to manage the situation, head coach Tuchel replied: "I don't know what to do for tomorrow, I haven't decided yet in terms of who is going to play.

"Some guys are at risk with their injuries, I haven't decided yet, I still need to talk to the doctor and to the physio about players and wait for the training session later."

With a lengthy list of absentees and the January transfer window just around the corner, Tuchel was asked if the situation will enhance the need for reinforcements.

"The situation is as it is right now, we don't know what we will do in the transfer window, I haven't thought about it too much to be honest," he replied.

"We always need to adapt to the current situation, we had a spell in the Champions League and the group phase was difficult, I couldn't think about anything else.

"The most important thing is to have fewer injuries. That's my focus right now."

Manchester City and Manchester United are set to battle it out for the signature of Bayern Munich's star defender David Alaba.

Alaba's Bayern contract expires in June 2021 and both Manchester clubs have made approaches for the 75-cap Austria international.

Pep Guardiola coached the 28-year-old during his time in the Bundesliga, but City may face further competition for the two-time Champions League winner.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED AND CITY SET FOR TUG-OF-WAR OVER ALABA

Manchester City and Manchester United have each made formal contact with Alaba 's agent Pini Zahavi, reports Spanish media outlet AS.

Bayern's chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has accepted the European champions can do nothing to keep Alaba, despite trying "everything" to convince the nine-time German league champion to stay.

But the Manchester rivals are not the only interested parties, with Real Madrid the favourites to land Alaba, according to the Daily Mail.  Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain are also in the race.

 

ROUND-UP

- Everton left-back  Lucas Digne  is another player on Guardiola's wish list, say the Daily Mail. The Toffees are set to offer the France international a bumper new contract to ward off  City 's advances, according to the Times.

PSG  are lining up a bid for Atletico Madrid's wantaway goalkeeper  Jan Oblak , say the Daily Mail. The Ligue 1 champions see 27-year-old Oblak, who wants a new challenge, as the successor to 34-year-old gloveman Keylor Navas in the French capital.

Neymar is welcome to reunite with Lionel Messi but first he must ask for forgiveness following his acrimonious Camp Nou exit three years ago, Barcelona presidential candidate Jordi Farre has insisted.

The Brazil international spent four trophy-laden seasons in Catalonia, forming a formidable partnership alongside Messi and Luiz Suarez, before joining Paris Saint-Germain for a record €222million in 2017 after his release clause was triggered.

Neymar has scored 50 times in 59 Ligue 1 outings since arriving at PSG and assisted a further 29 - only team-mate Kylian Mbappe (99) has been directly involved in more goals in the competition in that time.

During his time with Barca, meanwhile, he was directly involved in 164 goals in 186 appearances, helping the club to eight trophies.

He left Barca under a cloud and has since been embroiled in a court battle with his former club over an alleged breach of contract and unpaid loyalty payments.

However, the superstar forward caused a stir earlier this month when saying he wants nothing more than to link up with Messi again next year.

PSG are rumoured to be readying an offer for soon-to-be free agent Messi, but Farre - in the running to succeed Josep Maria Bartomeu as the LaLiga giants' next president in January's elections - has suggested the pair could play together at Barca.

"Neymar will be welcome but the first thing he has to do is withdraw his demands and ask for forgiveness," he told RAC1. 

"We have spoken to his people and they have told us about 'going home'.

"Who doesn't want the third-best player in the world on their team? There is an option of a transfer request, which would see him come for €40-45m."

Messi failed in an attempt to engineer a move away from Barcelona in the close season but is due to be out of contract at the end of the campaign, meaning he is able to open talks with other clubs from next month.

Manchester City and Inter have been linked with the Argentina international, but reports from Spain last week suggested PSG are the frontrunners for Messi's signature, although his father and agent Jorge has since labelled that speculation "false".

Farre hopes he can persuade the six-time Ballon d'Or winner to stay on, albeit on a reduced salary as Barca adjust to the crippling effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

"Messi and Neymar can play together at Barca next year. I am sure Messi does not want to leave," he said.

"I have talked to his people and, while we have not made any progress, he has told me he wants to stay. But he wants to be part of a winning project.

"My proposal to him is that he renews year after year, then we create a joint brand between Messi and Barca, and that he goes on to become the club's honorary president.

"But he will have to adapt to the current conditions of the club."

Messi scored in Barcelona's 2-2 draw with Valencia at the weekend to notch his 643rd goal for the Blaugrana, equalling Santos great Pele's one-club goals record.

Real Madrid are still eyeing Kylian Mbappe next year.

Mbappe, 22, has been heavily linked with the LaLiga giants with his contract at Paris Saint-Germain expiring in 2022.

Madrid may be looking to make a move in 2021.

 

TOP STORY – MADRID CONFIDENT OVER MBAPPE IN 2021

Real Madrid are very confident of completing a deal for PSG star Mbappe next year, according to 90min.

Mbappe has developed into one of the world's best forwards at PSG, where he has scored 13 goals in 17 games this season.

The France international is admired by Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane.

 

ROUND-UP

- Barcelona may be active in January. Sport reports Ronald Koeman is insisting on signings to begin 2021, with Lyon star Memphis Depay said to be available for just €5million. It also says Barca will negotiate with Manchester City for Eric Garcia.

- Staying at Manchester City and the Premier League giants have been boosted by John Stones' form. The Telegraph reports the defender is poised for a contract extension, with his current deal running until 2022.

- Yves Bissouma is seemingly attracting plenty of interest after his form for Brighton and Hove Albion. The Daily Express reports Manchester United have joined the race for the midfielder, who has also been linked to Liverpool and Arsenal.

- Yet to play for Napoli this season, Arkadiusz Milik is set for an exit. CalcioMercato reports Tottenham have given up on trying to sign the striker, who is also apparently a target for Juventus, Inter and Roma.

Thomas Tuchel warned such a demanding schedule will "kill the players" after Paris Saint-Germain suffered another three injuries in a goalless Ligue 1 draw with Lille.

Tuchel already had to contend with a lengthy list of absentees before facing fellow title hopefuls Lille at Stade Pierre-Mauroy, with Neymar and Mauro Icardi among the stars to be sidelined.

Kylian Mbappe is also not fully fit and was restricted to a late substitute appearance on his 22nd birthday as the champions missed a chance to go top at the expense of their opponents.

PSG then lost Presnel Kimpembe, Alessandro Florenzi and Layvin Kurzawa in Sunday's clash, so they face the prospect of being even more depleted when they take on Strasbourg on Wednesday.

Tuchel hit out over the fixture list following a stalemate that leaves his side a point behind leaders Lille and second-placed Lyon.

He told Telefoot after PSG's first goalless Ligue 1 draw since he took over: "You already know my opinion, we are going to kill the players.

"We are always allowed to play at nine o'clock [in the evening]. We lack the rhythm to eat, sleep, recover. But it will continue like this.

"Today, we miss Neymar, Kylian, Mauro, Juan (Bernat). Are we surprised? No. Three new players are injured now. Well done."

A positive was the return of captain Marquinhos from a hip injury and the defender knows PSG must be more ruthless after just one of their eight shots was on target, Moise Kean particularly wasteful.

"We were able to control the match but we could have been more dangerous," the skipper told Telefoot. "We had to be well organised. 

"This is an important point for us, but if we are always looking for victory."

Wasteful Paris Saint-Germain missed the chance to go top of Ligue 1 as they were held to a goalless draw by Lille on Sunday.

Moise Kean wasted several opportunities in a stalemate at Stade Pierre-Mauroy, where the champions ought to have consigned Lille to a first home defeat of the season in the top flight.

Kylian Mbappe was introduced just 13 minutes from time after being named as a substitute on his 22nd birthday and the striker did not have enough time to grab the winner.

The draw instead moved Lille back above Lyon at the summit on goal difference, with PSG only a point off the pace.

Thilo Kehrer headed just wide and Rafinha nodded Angel Di Maria's cross into the side-netting as PSG warmed to the task after a frantic start.

Idrissa Gueye came to the rescue with a great block after Kehrer gave the ball away inside his own penalty area as PSG tried to play out from the back, but Thomas Tuchel's men continued to pose a bigger threat.

Kean was denied by Mike Maignan when he tried to flick home a cross from Di Maria, whose dangerous free-kick was almost turned into his own net by Jose Fonte at the back post but Lille's goalkeeper made another save to keep his side on level terms.

Kean poked Layvin Kurzawa's inviting cross wide of the near post early in the second half and Yusuf Yazici strayed offside before he found the back of the net at the other end.

Di Maria was proving to be a real threat on his return to the starting line-up and his cross from the left flashed across the face of the goal as PSG continued to dominate with no reward.

Burak Yilmaz's long-range drive was tipped around the post by Keylor Navas before Mbappe was finally introduced just prior to Presnel Kimpembe making a brilliant last-ditch tackle when Lille hit PSG on the break.

Kimpembe limped off due to the damage done in that challenge and neither side could grab a late winner.

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