Alphonse Aréola, Clubs, French Ligue 1, Gianluigi Buffon, Paris Saint-Germain, Story


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Paris Saint-Germain coach Thomas Tuchel has said that Gianluigi Buffon will be back in goal for the away game at Rennes in Ligue 1 on Sunday and at home to Reims next week.

Alphonse Areola started PSG’s Champions League defeat away at Liverpool on Tuesday due to Buffon being suspended but was prevented from training on the eve of the Rennes clash due to an “important” family issue.

“Alphonse will not be training,” Tuchel told his prematch press conference on Saturday. “He needs to be with his family — it is very important. We will decide before leaving if he is with us on Sunday.

“Yes, Gianluigi will start against Rennes and also Reims. He is very experienced and very important for the squad. He came with us to Liverpool [despite his suspension].”

Tuchel then went back over the midweek defeat at Anfield with the journalists at PSG’s Camp des Loges training facility and said he wants to see his get back to winning ways in Brittany.

“We lost against Liverpool,” he said. “Tough, but that is life. We must recover from it — it is important that we show the desire to win in Rennes.

“If the referee had blown his whistle one minute earlier, everyone would be talking differently about the game. My message is not to change everything just because we lost.”

Tuchel refused to criticise his squad too severely and pointed towards positives, such as the limited influence of Mohamed Salah.

“We did many things,” he said. “For example, we did not allow Salah to get too involved.

“I will not criticise my team because of the result. If we play like s—, that must be criticised — even if we win. There is always room for improvement.”

Tuchel added that PSG’s attacking trio of Kylian Mbappe, Edinson Cavani and Neymar did not have their best match.

“The attackers’ presence was lacking in Liverpool, of course, we all saw that,” he said. “However, they have been decisive in other matches. It was not a performance of the highest quality, obviously.

“Edinson is our first line of defence. It was difficult for him in Liverpool. We defended very, very low. We changed structure mid-match. I was not angry with Edi — I trust him. He is a special attacker and thinks defensively, about how he can help. I have no problem with Edi.

“Neymar can play on the left and as a No. 10. He started this season as the No. 10 because he did not a preseason after the World Cup. Now that he is fit, he is ready. In Liverpool, I did not think that we would have space for a No. 10. Because of that, he started on the left. It was important to attack in the wide areas. We changed that during the game.”

Tuchel does not agree with the criticism of PSG’s character and insisted that he saw signs of improvement.

“Do you think that we could come back from 2-0 down to 2-2 at Anfield without a leader?” he said. “No, impossible. We have not lost confidence.

“We showed great mentality to fight back to 2-2. We must improve, that is clear. It is challenging to play against Liverpool, though. Jurgen [Klopp] has been there for four years, while we have been together for eight weeks.”

Tuchel also confirmed that Mbappe remains suspended in Rennes while the severity of his reviewed suspension is decided, but Marco Verratti is back after missing the Liverpool game because of a ban.



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