Summer is over at Paris SG.
Overwhelmed by many absences, including that of Neymar suspended, the club finds Kylian Mbappé in Nice on Sunday (1:00 p.m.), behind closed doors, to turn the page of a failed start to the season.
An "incredible" victory, an "extraordinary" state of mind ... The situation at PSG was so tense that a 1-0 success, nine against eleven, against the poorly classified Metz on Wednesday took on the dimension of a feat in the mouth of his trainer Thomas Tuchel.
Between suspensions, injuries, cases of Covid-19 and results at half mast, the German technician saw the clouds gathering above his head, until Julian Draxler offered him his first victory of the season and the move away from the simmering crisis.
"His goal delivers us. It's a relief," said defender Colin Dagba.
Defeated in Lens (1-0) then by Marseille (1-0) at the end of a stormy "Clasico", Paris is a fifteenth of L1 (3 pts) rather happy before the 4th day.
Finally, it is launched.
The return to the group of Mbappé, the last of the seven executives affected by the Covid-19 at the beginning of September to put their boots on again, is blowing a wind of optimism in the capital, especially as the attacker has been strengthening a hoarse sector for several weeks.
- "Move on" -
With Angel Di Maria and Mauro Icardi, Tuchel has three of his "Fantastic Four", which scored more than half of Parisian goals last season in L1.
"We have to move on and not have feelings," said "Kyky" after the disappointment of the lost Champions League final, in an interview with TF1 in early September, which still rings just two weeks later.
After a summer that has dedicated his duo with Neymar, the former Monegasque is entering a crucial season in his leadership suit, while the extension of his contract expiring in 2022 is a priority for PSG.
But his momentum, with a goal for the France team in Sweden (1-0), was cut off by the announcement of his positive test for the new coronavirus on September 7.
"Kylian brings us speed, his hunger to score, quality, creativity ... But after a positive test, we must also protect the player. Not necessarily with minutes, but also with our expectations. should not expect too much from him, "Tuchel said on Saturday.
"I'm going to speak with Kylian, see if he feels comfortable, before deciding whether to start or enter during the match," continued the technician.
- Under the sign of Covid-19 -
If the German coach has gotten used to walking on the Côte d'Azur in the past two years (wins 4-1 and 3-0), PSG are preparing for a difficult match against a vengeful opponent, who fell to Montpellier (3-1) on Saturday after winning its first two matches.
But the "Gym" will play without an audience, behind closed doors, due to the local strengthening of health measures in the face of Covid-19, which excluded the gauge of 5,000 people initially planned.
The Nice club has also been affected by three positive cases in its workforce, including that of its Danish striker Kasper Dolberg.
Tuchel also has his problems: he must manage the suspensions of Neymar, Layvin Kurzawa and Leandro Paredes, sanctioned for their involvement in the start of a fight in the "Clasico", as well as that of Abdou Diallo, excluded against Metz.
Juan Bernat's knee injury also deprives him of a holder as a left-back, where the only professional replacement is the young Dutchman Mitchel Bakker.
Thilo Kehrer, affected with hamstrings, also forfeited, while Marco Verratti, uncertain, appears well in the group.
In this context, PSG remains fragile.
But the less busy schedule that awaits him until the end of October, and the scheduled return of Neymar on September 27 to Reims, then offer him an ideal track to take off.
It is up to him to avoid falling back into the fog by losing in Nice.
© 2020 AFP