Thursday, 19 September 2019

‘Don't ask me about winning Champions League’

‘Don't ask me about winning Champions League’

After three consecutive last-16 eliminations in the Champions League, Paris St Germain were taking their impressive 3-0 victory over Real Madrid on Wednesday with a large pinch of salt.

In their first Champions League game since Manchester United's shock 3-1 win in Paris knocked them out last season, PSG were brilliant against the Spanish side, but they know only too well that they still have plenty to prove.

"Before anyone asks a question... If someone asks me if we're going to win the Champions League, I'm out of here," Thomas Tuchel told a news conference after PSG had crushed 13-times European champions Real in their Group A opener at the Parc des Princes.

The United debacle followed a 5-2 aggregate defeat by Real Madrid in 2018 and a memorable loss to Barcelona in 2017 with a 6-1 defeat at the Camp Nou following a 4-0 home win.

"We did not want to send a message but it is true that we controlled this game, we were well prepared," PSG centre back Thiago Silva said.

Having spent over one billion euros on players since Qatar Sports Investment took over in 2011, PSG have been expected to win the Champions League but they have fallen spectacularly short in recent seasons.

They are now focused on the first task of getting through to the knockout phase from a group featuring Real, Club Brugge and Galatasaray.

PSG recruited during the close season, notably bringing in goalkeeper Keylor Navas from Real Madrid and striker Mauro Icardi on loan from Inter Milan.

But it was midfielder Idrissa Gueye, who joined from Everton, who caught the eye on Wednesday, setting up Di Maria for the second goal and working tirelessly.

"Idrissa, it's incredible. I don't have the words. I don't know how many balls he won today," Silva said.

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