While the defeat in Leipzig (2-1) accentuated criticism from supporters, but also sowed doubt in the Parisian locker room, Thomas Tuchel displayed his confidence on Friday at a press conference on the eve of hosting Rennes at the Parc des Princes (9 p.m.), while acknowledging that it was going through a difficult period.
Neymar and Mbappé were called up for selection while they are unavailable with PSG. How is it possible ?
THOMAS TUCHEL. It is the right of national teams to call up players. We can’t do anything. I prefer, if they are injured, that they do not play. But we also have confidence in the staff of the national teams to take good care of the guys.
Between the absences (Neymar, Mbappé, Kimpembe, Navas, Draxler, Verratti, Icardi…) and Rennes, 3rd in the championship, which is not always successful for you, what type of match do you expect?
We have the impression that this team is always improving, they are getting better and better. There is a good unity between the team and the coach. They deserve to play in the Champions League. They won a Cup ( Editor’s note: from France in 2019 ), unfortunately against us. It’s a very strong, very solid, very courageous team that believes in its efforts. They normally always play 4-1-4-1. I know they can also feel the difficulty of playing every three days, but I expect a brave, aggressive, totally united team. That means it’s a big challenge for us, but also maybe an opportunity to win and increase the gap between the two teams. But for that, we will need a new collective effort and to achieve a good performance.
How has the mood been since the loss in Leipzig and are the players still so receptive and motivated?
Motivated? Of course! We have no doubts about that. We played a very physical game, won a lot of balls in the opposing camp. We analyzed the game together on Thursday before training so as not to let this loss infuse for too long. Because it is necessary to train and play tomorrow (Saturday) with new motivation, joy, with a smile. We are always disappointed to lose. We don’t want to get used to this feeling. But at the same time we really have the impression that it was possible (to win). There is no reason now to doubt. Yes the atmosphere was disappointing, calm but not too much. We are first in Ligue 1, we have the opportunity to increase the gap with Rennes and we can also get by in the Champions League. This is the objective.
In a time when results are more difficult, with whom do you speak? With the president who is in Qatar or with Leonardo? Don’t you sometimes have the feeling that you are a little lonely?
(Long sigh) Yes… Maybe… But that’s not a big deal. Because we are together to work on a daily basis with my staff. And it’s not just Germans it’s also the goalkeeper coach, Papus Camara, physical trainers, physios, physiotherapists… All the staff work together in a positive atmosphere. And I don’t feel like I’m alone at all when I work here in Ooredoo (Editor’s note: the training center of the Loges camp). It’s a relationship with everyone: guys who work in the kitchen, for PSG TV… We have a good relationship and I don’t feel at all that I’m alone.
You cannot deny the complexity of the situation …
In this period where we lack results, it is always a difficult situation because a club like PSG is not used to losing and besides it is good like that. But as a coach you have to analyze things. And as a coach we cannot let our emotions show. We are going through a difficult time in the Champions League, but it is absolutely necessary to remain calm, focused, and to trust the players. We have a final against Leipzig (Editor’s note: November 24) at the Park and we will prepare it in the best way. Everything else is not important.
Today are you living the most difficult moment since your arrival at PSG?
I heard the same question before the Coupe de la Ligue final, before the Coupe de France, before the quarter-final against Bergamo, before the semi-final… It’s always the same questions. Last season I read expressions like “Tuchel all alone, all alone, all alone”, “isolated”… While it may not be like that. Is this the most difficult time? I do not know. This is how it is in the life of a coach. One of the most horrible moments in my life as a coach was after Manchester (Editor’s note: in 8th in the Champions League 2019). To end the season in this context, after what we had created with the victory at Old Trafford (2-0)… Today is another moment when everything is not easy. We must continue to work hard. But we have to look at the context: we are first in Ligue 1, we have 7 consecutive games with 23 goals scored and only one conceded. We lost a game in Leipzig. It’s the reality that in the Champions League you can lose a match. It happened. But we have to put things in context and if we do that we will realize that it is not the worst situation in the world. It’s a difficult situation, but we are here to find solutions. And that’s the reason we love this profession.
Article original de: www.leparisien.fr