Thomas Tuchel is expecting a “very difficult” match against Lens in Paris Saint-Germain’s Ligue 1 opener after a number of players tested positive for coronavirus.
Reigning champions PSG are without seven players for Thursday’s clash at the Stade Bollaert-Delelis, with Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Angel Di Maria among their absentees.
The Champions League finalists have had less than three weeks off since ending their 2019-20 campaign and Tuchel admits it may take time for his side to find their rhythm.
“It’s a little weird to start with a very difficult match in Lens,” he said at his pre-match news conference. “Normally, after a final, we have a preparation phase with friendly matches.
“But starting with a Ligue 1 match in Lens, it’s going to be very hard. For me, it’s important that we don’t expect too much. We will give everything, but we will also be humble.
“We are looking to find solutions. The situation is more complicated with seven players affected by COVID-19, but we have confidence.”
Leandro Paredes, Mauro Icardi, Marquinhos and Keylor Navas are reported to be the other players who tested positive for COVID-19, leaving Tuchel with limited options.
— Paris Saint-Germain (@PSG_English) September 8, 2020
PSG face a run of four league matches in 10 days and Tuchel is unsure when his quarantined stars will be given the all clear to return to action.
“I don’t want to say too much, but the players who tested positive feel better,” he said. “But resuming training is another thing.
“They will resume individual programmes, but I have doubts for Sunday against Marseille. We’ll have to wait to find out. We are very responsible and careful with them.”
In better news for PSG, Marco Verratti has been deemed fit to play a part after recovering from a calf problem that plagued him in the latter stages of last season.
Tuchel also confirmed Julian Draxler, Presnel Kimpembe, Thilo Kehrer and Colin Dagba are available for the trip to Lens, who lost 2-1 to Nice in their first game following promotion.
Marcin Bulka will start in goal, meanwhile, as Navas is out and Sergio Rico joined too late to be registered for the match.
“They played a very good match in Nice on the first day,” Tuchel said of opponents Lens. “It’s not easy because our last match was a Champions League final.
“It won’t be the same level, but we have to be focused to try to win. I have confidence in all the players who will play tomorrow.”
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