PSG to focus on countering Man United counter attacks

PSG will be keen to exact revenge when it hosts Manchester United in the Champions League 18 months after a heart-breaking elimination by the English side.


PSG will kick-off the 2020-21 Champions League season when it hosts Manchester United in their Group H tie on Tuesday.   -  AP

Paris Saint-Germain will concentrate on combating Manchester United's counter attacks in their Champions League opener on Tuesday, 18 months after a heart-breaking elimination by the English side in Europe's premier club competition.

PSG wasted a two-goal first-leg lead in a 3-1 home defeat by United at the last 16 stage in 2019 but this year reached the final before losing 1-0 to Bayern Munich in August.

Coach Thomas Tuchel warned that previous achievements would mean nothing on Tuesday at the Parc des Princes, where PSG's all-time top scorer Edinson Cavani could debut for the United.

“Last season is over, and we're a different team now. My challenge is to create a good atmosphere in a tight-knit squad,” Tuchel told a news conference before the Group H clash.

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While United has already conceded 12 goals in four Premier League games this season, which seems to make it vulnerable to the attacking power of PSG's Kylian Mbappe, Neymar and Angel Di Maria, Tuchel has set his side's priorities.

“They have made many changes - to the 2018-19 team - they brought in new players with more confidence and more experience,” the German coach said.

“Paul Pogba is a key player, one of the best midfielders in the world. It's key to stop him, and also to stop Bruno Fernandes. He plays with three very fast forwards.

“They're one of the best teams in Europe in terms of attack and transitions. It's key to stop them before they start their counter attacks.”

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PSG will not have it easy as it will be without injured midfielders Marco Verratti and Argentine Leandro Paredes, with the Italian out of action for three weeks with a thigh problem.

Tuchel also hopes Uruguay striker Cavani, 33, does not show the sort of form he displayed in seven seasons at PSG where he scored a club record 200 goals.

“He wrote the club's history but it's going to be weird that he plays against us at the Parc with another club, but it's not us against him or him against us, not at all,” said Tuchel.

“It is very difficult to defend against him. He is a player with fantastic quality. Tomorrow it's not necessary that he proves me right,” he added.

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