Deschamps: PSG held back by Ligue 1 standards

DIDIER DESCHAMPS.
DIDIER DESCHAMPS.

PARIS • Thomas Tuchel's impressive qualities as a coach may be insufficient to help Paris Saint-Germain clinch the coveted Champions League trophy, says France's World Cup-winning coach Didier Deschamps.

The French champions have won five of the last six domestic league titles and top the table after eight straight wins in Tuchel's first season with an eight-point gap over Lille. PSG are only the second side to win their opening eight Ligue One games since Lyon in 1936.

"Tuchel has a high level of social skills, works meticulously, has authority and at the same time has a certain closeness to the players," Deschamps, who won the World Cup this year in Russia with his native France, told German newspaper Bild.

"But there is a lot going on in Paris. He's not a magician.

"They play in a league where they win most of the games even with the handbrake on and then suddenly find themselves in the Champions League again, against an opponent where the quality and aggression are completely different.

"The squad are not used to that."

NOT A MIRACLE WORKER

Tuchel has a high level of social skills, works meticulously, has authority and at the same time has a certain closeness to the players... But he's not a magician. They play in a league where they win most of the games even with the handbrake on and then suddenly find themselves in the Champions League again, against an opponent where the quality and aggression are completely different.

DIDIER DESCHAMPS, France's World Cup-winning coach, running the rule on the uphill challenge facing PSG's coach Thomas Tuchel.

PSG host Red Star Belgrade today, knowing that they need to bounce back from their opening 3-2 Group C defeat at Liverpool.

PSG have yet to progress past the last eight in Europe's elite club competition even after Qatari chairman Nasser Al-Khelaifi's heavy investment in marquee signings like Neymar and Kylian Mbappe.

Tuchel, who took the reins from Unai Emery in May, is tasked with aiming for European glory starting today, and will head into the clash on the back of a morale-boosting 3-0 Ligue One win at Nice.

The German has singled out midfielder Angel di Maria for praise in a match in which Neymar netted a brace.

"I like di Maria a lot, he is so gifted," he told beIN Sports.

"I watched him play with (former club) Real Madrid and I could not believe I would train him at some point, back then.

"Now he is my player, it's a gift for me. It's easy with him as he is every day one of the first to come to training.

"He has a lot of skills, he always plays for the team, it's really a gift."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 03, 2018, with the headline 'Deschamps: PSG held back by Ligue 1 standards'. Print Edition | Subscribe