Paris St Germain coach Thomas Tuchel shut down conversation about their opening Champions League clash with Liverpool as he faced the media before Friday’s Ligue 1 match against St Etienne.
PSG have the chance to make it an unprecedented five straight wins to start the league season, but some questions on Thursday were already looking ahead to Tuesday’s trip to Anfield.
Tuchel was not interested.
“This is not the subject,” he said. “Today is about St Etienne and everyone in the club should be aware that it’s important.”
The German admitted he had not realised PSG had the opportunity to make history by extending their perfect start.
“I did not know nobody had ever done it,” he said. “We want to win, it’s clear, but I expect a tough match against a disciplined opponent, for which I have a lot of respect.”
Tuchel said he expected St Etienne to defend in numbers, but admitted they were a side who could keep you guessing tactically.
“It will be very difficult as they have lot of experience, a lot of discipline,” he said.
“It is difficult to create chances against them. It will take patience. Sometimes they adapt according to their opponent so I do not know what they will do.”
PSG will be boosted by the return of Marco Verratti, who is yet to feature this season after working to overcome a thigh injury sustained earlier this year.
“It is really important for a player with Marco’s qualities to come back and be in good health,” Tuchel said.
“He has worked very hard and he has to work very hard in the future to stay healthy.
“He has extraordinary qualities. He can make differences in the middle. He is a very brave player who always wants the ball.”
PSG will face a St Etienne side who are unbeaten thus far, though they have only won one of their four games.
They makes them the only team other than PSG to remain unbeaten – but coach Jean-Louis Gasset has no illusions about the challenge ahead.
“We know the difficulty of going to play at the Parc des Princes,” he said. “We will surely be running after the ball as Paris will boss possession.
“We will be the outsiders, we will need to have a perfect match to get a result. It would need a great performance to remain unbeaten after this game.”
He, for one, might be hoping that Tuchel is unsuccessful in tamping down talk about that trip to Liverpool next week.
“I hope that Paris are not at 100 per cent because they are unplayable when they are,” he added.
“They would be able to stay undefeated for 38 games. But if they are tired or have their heads elsewhere, we will have a chance if, on our side, we play at 110 per cent.”