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PSG boss Enrique calms frenzy over Champions League glory ahead of Dortmund tie

By Paul Myers - RFI
Sports News AP - Michel Euler
TUE, 19 SEP 2023 LISTEN
AP - Michel Euler

Paris Saint-Germain coach Luis Enrique fashioned an original stance for himself ahead of his side's Champions League clash against Dortmund insisting that glory in the competition would not become an obsession.

Enrique took over during the summer from Christophe Galtier who, on his enthronement in July 2022, talked up the importance of bringing European club football's most prestigious prize to the Parc des Princes for the first time.

However, despite boasting a squad containing Lionel Messi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappé, PSG were bundled out in the last-16 for the fifth time in seven years.

"When any person, or any club, becomes obsessed with something, it is not a good sign," said Enrique who steered Barcelona to the Champions League title in 2015.

"We need to be hopeful, ambitious too, but becoming obsessed does not work in any area of life," added the former Spain boss.

Though Galtier went on to lead PSG to a record 11th top flight title, he was relieved of his duties.

Row

Enrique was installed just as PSG's executives were conducting a public battle with star striker Kylian Mbappé over his contract with the club.

The France international was banished from the first team squad while the row degraded and a host of new talent including the Portugal striker Gonçalo Ramos was drafted in.

Mbappé was restored to the A team last month amid reports that he had agreed a new deal. Since joining in 2017, the Frenchman has forged partnerships with the likes of Neymar, Marco Verratti and Messi.

But following their departures for the Saudi Pro League and Major League Soccer in the United States, he will need to establish links with new faces such as Manuel Ugarte and Marco Asensio.

Other arrivals - Ousmane Dembélé from Barcelona and Lucas Hernandez from Bayern Munich - are at least familair from international duties with France.

Goals

Mbappé, who has scored five times this season, will be expected to lead the attack on Tuesday night at the Parc des Princes against the Germans who have won two and drawn two of their first four games in the Bundesliga.

PSG prepared for the Champions League fixture with a 3-2 defeat to Nice at the Parc des Princes. The setback left them in fifth place with eight points after five games.

"Football is a marvellous sport in which any outcome is possible," Enrique added.

"You can play really well and lose or play badly and win, but our objective is to go as far as possible and try to win everything."

Since Qatari Sports Investments took over PSG in 2011, the club has amassed 27 trophies including nine Ligue 1 titles and six Coupe de France crowns.

Expectations

Despite his declarations over the Champions League, PSG supremos as well as their success sated supporters will expect more Ligue 1 glory as the bare minimum.

"It has not been a great start in Ligue 1," Enrique conceded. "But it never has been for me wherever I have coached.

"There is a lot of information to give to the players, lots of concepts to take on board.

"Luckily the players have been really receptive. In that sense I am delighted with the attitude of the team.

"It is all a process and experience tells me you need time. Not that I am asking for time because I know how this industry works but in that sense I am calm."

After the game against Dortmund, PSG travel to Newcastle United on 4 October before hosting AC Milan three weeks later.

They travel to Milan on 7 October and welcome Newcastle on 28 October before finishing their Group F games in Dortmund on 13 December.

"The good football and good results will come, I am sure," Enrique insisted.

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