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Injury crisis hits PSG

Thomas Tuchel has bemoaned Paris Saint-Germain’s injury crisis ahead of facing Manchester United in Champions League, claiming he may only have 11 players available for the contest.

PSG were drawn alongside United, RB Leipzig and Istanbul Basaksehir in the group stages of this season’s competition, having made it all the way to final last time around.

Tuchel’s men were beaten 1-0 by Bayern Munich in the showpiece, but are expected to be strong contenders for the trophy again after finally proving their mettle on the continental stage.

The French champions will open their latest Champions League campaign with a home fixture against United on Tuesday, where they will be aiming to exact revenge for a stunning round of 16 defeat to the Premier League giants in 2018-19.

PSG will warm up for that clash with a trip to Nimes in Ligue 1 this weekend, with Tuchel set to welcome several key members of his squad back into the fold following the international break.

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However, the German head coach has now expressed fears that he will be unable to field a full-strength line-up in Europe as the likes of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe recover from their exploits with Brazil and France, while Marqinhos, Julian Draxler, Colin Dagba have emerged as major doubts.

Tuchel also confirmed the absence of Thilo Kehrer, Juan Bernat and Mauro Icardi, telling a press conference on Thursday: “We have to take responsibility for Neymar and Kylian, who played almost 90 minutes yesterday, and the South Americans who have travelled a lot.

“Maybe we will only have 11, 12 or 13 players available.

“We have a bit of bad luck. Draxler and Marquinhos are doubtful for Manchester too. Colin Dagba had a positive [coronavirus test] with the U21s. In the event of a negative test, he can return to the group.

“Kehrer is injured for a few weeks. Bernat and Icardi are injured, Icardi, a week ago. It’s the internal ligament in the knee, it’s not too serious but he will miss Nimes and Manchester.”

The PSG head coach revealed that Danilo Pereira and Marco Verratti could be facing spells on the sidelines too, with the former likely to be forced in self-isolation after coming into contact with Cristiano Ronaldo before his positive Covid-19 test in the Portugal camp, and the latter nursing an injury after starring for Italy.

“Today we have Danilo back, but he has been in contact with Cristiano Ronaldo, so the medical staff wish he did not train with the group,” said Tuchel. “Verratti was injured with Italy, and is in contact with our doctor now.

“We are missing too many players. It is the challenge now to find a starting XI able to win [against Nimes], because that is the best preparation for Manchester.”

One man who could be in line to feature against both Nimes and United is Moise Kean, who moved to PSG on loan from Everton on deadline day.

Asked if the 20-year-old will be handed his debut at Costieres Stadium on Saturday, Tuchel responded: “Yeah, it’s possible, but I haven’t seen the guy yet. He’s coming in and we’re going to try to do at least one training with him and maybe he’ll play tomorrow.”

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