Tuchel wants PSG to raise game in Europe

PARIS • As Thomas Tuchel's predecessors found out to their detriment, the task handed down by Paris Saint-Germain's Qatari owners to win the French Ligue 1 club's maiden Champions League trophy may very well be a Herculean one.

Since the 2011 takeover, PSG have failed to advance beyond the quarter-finals, and there is a real risk this season that the French champions might be sent packing in the group stage after a 2-2 home draw with Napoli on Wednesday.

Angel di Maria's added-time strike spared PSG's blushes at the Parc des Princes and Tuchel accepted that his side needed to raise their game in Europe, with new Group C leaders Liverpool the biggest beneficiaries.

"We can improve, it's not possible not to make errors because the opposition are very strong," said the German coach, who knows that he will be judged by how far PSG can progress in European football's top-tier competition, despite his side's record-breaking 100 per cent winning start to the league campaign.

"I have lots of respect for the teams in this group. I knew before it would be really complicated and, in my opinion, we are not the favourites. This group is really difficult and we can't be surprised."

PSG looked beaten until di Maria curled home in the third minute of stoppage time, salvaging a point from a game in which they had been second best for long spells.

Before his late intervention, it looked as though goals from Lorenzo Insigne and Dries Mertens, either side of a Mario Rui own goal, would give Carlo Ancelotti's men a famous victory in the French capital, with PSG unbeaten in their last 19 home matches in the group stage.

"It is always complicated against an Italian team because of the culture they have," admitted Tuchel, whose side have to travel to Napoli on Nov 6 before hosting the Reds three weeks later.

"We are not an Italian side, we are not Atletico Madrid, we are PSG and we have another style. They (Napoli) have been together for years, and we have been together for just 11 weeks, but we must improve, that is clear."


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 26, 2018, with the headline 'Tuchel wants PSG to raise game in Europe'. Print Edition | Subscribe