‘PSG must be patient in Champions League quest’ - GulfToday

‘PSG must be patient in Champions League quest’


PSG’s Kylian Mbappe (right) scores against Monaco during their French League match on Sunday. Agence France-Presse

Paris St Germain must remain patient in their quest for a Champions League title despite their recent failures, coach Thomas Tuchel said after they celebrated their sixth Ligue 1 title in the last seven seasons on Sunday.

PSG were already crowned as runaway champions after second-placed Lille’s goalless draw at Toulouse earlier on Sunday and they went on to celebrate in the evening with a Kylian Mbappe hat-trick earning them a 3-1 home win against Monaco.

But despite this achievement, the last-16 Champions League elimination by Manchester United in March still looms large with the club having spent over one billion euros on transfers since Qatar Sports Investment took over in 2011.

“The Champions League is a big goal for the club but even Juventus have been waiting for it for so long,” warned Tuchel, referring to the Serie A champions who have not won since 1996 despite reaching the final on five occasions since then.

PSG have been stuttering lately, picking up only one point from their three previous outings before Sunday’s celebrations, but the return of Neymar and Edinson Cavani from injury have boosted the team’s morale.

“We are disappointed by the United tie but football continues, it’s easy to say but I’m going to say it, football continues,” said Mbappe, who has scored 30 league goals this season.

The 20-year-old France striker is now looking to collect another trophy when PSG take on Stade Rennais in the French Cup final next Saturday at the Stade de France.

“We have another title to get. Even if we expected more from the Champions League, we must stay focussed,” added the young World Cup winner.

Mbappe committed his future to PSG on Sunday after Monaco win that also saw the return of superstar strike partner Neymar.

“I’m here, I’ve signed up to the project,” said Mbappe, who has been linked with Real Madrid, to TV station Canal+.

“Good for Real Madrid if there is Zizou (Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane), I will watch their matches as an admirer.”

Mbappe took his league tally for the season to 30 following his treble on Sunday, which came just hours after PSG were crowned champions when closest challengers Lille dropped points.

Their goalless draw at Toulouse left them 16 points behind PSG with only five games to play before kick-off in Paris and allowed the capital club to celebrate the title after missing chances to seal it in their previous three matches.

“I’m happy, the season isn’t finished yet, and I want to score more,” said Mbappe to Canal+.

The 20-year-old is targeting the domestic double ahead of next week’s French Cup final against Rennes after his side crashed out in the last 16 in the Champions League.

“We’re disappointed for what happened with Manchester United, but the game goes on,” added Mbappe, referring to his team throwing away a 2-0 first-leg lead to the Premier League outfit.

“We obviously expected more from the Champions League but we can’t let ourselves be demoralised.”

Neymar’s return at the start of the second half replacing Layvin Kurzawa is the cherry on the cake for Tuchel’s side, who had been without the Brazilian superstar since Jan. 23 with a right foot injury.

Edinson Cavani also returned to action for injury-ravaged PSG as a second half substitute, having a late strike correctly ruled out for offside, meaning that their famed front three are back together after months apart.

Mbappe has thrived in the absence of his strike partners, and gave his side a 2-0 first-half lead with two neat finishes, the first coming in the 15th minute and the second seven minutes before the break after a beautiful pass from Dani Alves.

The World Cup winner then put the three points beyond doubt when he tapped in Alves’ low cross nine minutes after the break.

Aleksandr Golovin rolled home a consolation for the away side, who remain in trouble in 16th place and are only four points away from the relegation play-off spot.

“We’ve not been in the best of form but we played well today. We won again, and that’s important,” said Tuchel.

“The Champions League is a huge goal, but a club like Juventus has been waiting more than 20 years to win that trophy, and that’s Juventus.”

The Parisians have struggled with key injuries in recent weeks and they lost Italian international midfielder Marco Verratti with what looks like a knock to his left ankle.

PSG took the field wearing a shirt with a large image of Notre Dame replacing the usual sponsor’s logo. “Notre-Dame” replaced the player names on the back of the shirts.

Agence France-Presse

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