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Tuchel dismisses the credibility of PSG criticism from armchair pundits

SoccerNews in Ligue 1 27 Nov 2020

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Thomas Tuchel says he “understands” criticism of Paris Saint-Germain but dismissed its credibility when coming from fans and journalists watching from a “sofa”.

PSG were out of sorts in the Champions League on Tuesday, as last season’s beaten finalists scraped a narrow 1-0 win at RB Leipzig.

The decisive goal, an 11th-minute Neymar penalty, was one of just three shots on target mustered by PSG over the course of the match.

Tuchel said after the game that he would not apologise for winning in a somewhat ugly fashion, with Leipzig enjoying 63 per cent of possession and managing 15 shots in total.

He put the underwhelming performance down to fatigue caused by the team’s packed schedule, though it was not their only unimpressive display in recent months.

Before Tuesday, PSG had lost three of their previous seven matches across all competitions and Tuchel has had to contend with questions about his future, but the German was keen to remind fans and reporters that they do not see everything he sees.

“If it [criticism] hits the locker room, it’ll tighten us up,” he told reporters ahead of Saturday’s visit of Bordeaux.

“For me it is very clear. I can understand the criticisms, but we have different positions. The critics are supporters, journalists… But I’m not [watching] on TV, or on my sofa.

“I’m with my team, I live every pass, every sprint with my team and you have a completely different feeling after a match like that than in front of a TV.

“I can accept the criticism, but you can also accept that we have another feeling. I had the feeling that the journalists wanted to convince me of their opinions, but I did not have the same opinion because I am a small part of this group.”

Saturday’s game is quickly followed by a vital Champions League trip to Manchester United on Wednesday, with PSG still fighting to qualify for the last 16.

PSG confirmed on Friday that defender Marquinhos will miss the Bordeaux game as a precaution following an adductor “twinge” – he has not been ruled out of the trip to Old Trafford, however.

Mauro Icardi and Marco Verratti are likely to get the chance to increase their involvement ahead of that journey as well, with the Argentinian striker missing since early October due to a knee ligament injury, while the Italy international (thigh) returned from a month-long layoff to make a cameo against Leipzig.

“[Verratti] can change everything on the pitch. In 12 or 14 minutes he showed an extraordinary impact [against Leipzig],” Tuchel said.

“We decided in the morning that he would be on the bench because he only did half a workout. Now he can play maybe a half against Bordeaux and that gives us a lot of possibilities and confidence on the pitch.”

Regarding Icardi, he added: “We decided yesterday on the field if he could make strikes. We took the risk, he trained and there was no reaction.

“We’ll see what he can do in training. If he can [train], we can put him on the bench and give him a few minutes, because he has been training hard for many weeks and it’s hard for a player like Mauro, who lives to win.”

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