Paris Saint-Germain coach Thomas Tuchel claims his side cannot be expected to go on another run to the Champions League final unless new signings are made before Monday’s transfer deadline.
“We will do everything we possibly can and we will never accept excuses but we have to face up to the reality and that is that we have lost players,” Tuchel told reporters ahead of PSG’s Ligue 1 meeting with Angers on Friday.
PSG won every domestic trophy available in France last season before going on to reach the Champions League final for the first time, losing narrowly to Bayern Munich in Lisbon in August.
However, since the end of last season they have seen captain Thiago Silva, Edinson Cavani, right-back Thomas Meunier, striker Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting and defensive starlet Tanguy Kouassi depart, amongst others.
Apart from making Mauro Icardi’s loan move from Inter Milan into a permanent transfer, the only new arrival is right-back Alessandro Florenzi, recruited on loan from Roma.
Tuchel said: “If we stay like this we can’t speak about having the same objectives. Perhaps we can do it but we can’t ask for the same things from such a reduced squad when we will have to fight with teams like Manchester City, Liverpool and Atletico Madrid, who have all been very strong in the transfer market.”
“In a season like this, with players who will be playing a lot for their national teams, with the coronavirus, without a pre-season, with a schedule like we have, I am worried that we will pay the price in October, November, December and January,” added the German.
PSG lost their first two games of the new Ligue 1 campaign. However they have since won three in a row and will be fancied to extend that run at home to Angers, even if Angel Di Maria begins a four-match ban and left-back Juan Bernat is a long-term absentee with a knee injury.
Neymar is available after escaping punishment following allegations of racist and homophobic abuse in an ill-tempered defeat by Marseille last month.
The French league’s disciplinary committee ruled on Wednesday that it did not have sufficient proof to take action against the Brazilian or Marseille defender Alvaro Gonzalez, who Neymar had accused of calling him a “monkey”.
Friday’s game, which will be played before a maximum of 1,000 spectators due to tightened coronavirus restrictions in Paris, is PSG’s last before the international break.
However, their schedule is set to get very busy from the middle of this month, with the Champions League group stage starting on October 20.
Player to watch: Lucas PaquetaBrazil midfielder Paqueta, 23, this week joined Lyon from AC Milan on a five-year deal for a fee of 20 million euros ($23.4m).
Paqueta, capped 11 times by Brazil, joined Milan from Flamengo in January last year but failed to properly settle at San Siro.
Amid ongoing speculation that Houssem Aouar and Memphis Depay will leave Lyon before Monday’s transfer deadline, Paqueta could make his Ligue 1 debut when his new team host bitter rivals Marseille on Sunday.
Key stats3 – PSG have lost just three times at home in 73 Ligue 1 games over the last five seasons.
13 – Rennes top the table with 13 points ahead of the weekend. It is their best ever start to a top-flight season.
100 – Lyon and Marseille meet for the 100th time in France’s top flight. The game has become one of the great rivalries in Ligue 1 in recent years.
Fixtures (kick-offs GMT)Friday
Paris Saint-Germain v Angers (1900)
Lens v Saint-Etienne (1500), Nice v Nantes (1900)
Montpellier v Nimes (1100), Bordeaux v Dijon, Brest v Monaco, Metz v Lorient, Strasbourg v Lille (all 1300), Rennes v Reims (1500), Lyon v Marseille (1900)