‘We’re constructing a new team so it’s not easy’ – Nasser Al-Khelaifi downplays PSG’s Champions League chances

Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser Al-Khelaifi has sought to downplay the club’s chances of winning this season’s UEFA Champions League, highlighting the new, youthful, long-term project being constructed at the Parc des Princes. 

PSG made light work of Real Sociedad in the Round of 16. Kylian Mbappé’s (25) brace in the second leg allowed Les Parisiens to progress 4-1 on aggregate. It will be the France captain’s final season at the Parc des Princes and a succession plan is being put into place. It is one that is built around youth. 

The team fielded against Real Sociedad had an average age of 23 years and 361 days, making it the club’s youngest-ever starting XI in a Champions League encounter. According to RMC Sport, the president went into the PSG dressing room post-match and sought to ease the burden of expectation on the young players, stating that there was “no pressure”. 

Al-Khelaifi calls for realism regarding PSG’s Champions League chances

Al-Khelaifi has now echoed that discourse in an exclusive interview with RMC Sport“The Champions League is a long story,” began the PSG president, who has yearned for the trophy since QSI’s takeover in 2011. “We said at the start of the season that we wanted to create a team for the future, a team that can play together for the next six to eight years. We have the youngest team in the quarter-finals of the Champions League, the youngest team of the top 10 European clubs. We are proud of that. It is great that we are following this strategy, with young players and young French players too,” he began. 

Pushed on the club’s desire to win, he added, “Of course! The players want to win every match, but we also have to be realistic. We are constructing a team. Most of the players are new. In the last match, only two or three players played for us last year. We’re constructing a new team so it isn’t easy. The players aren’t ready just because we put them together.”

Al-Khelaifi concluded, “I am also proud of our manager (Luís Enrique), who is doing a fantastic job, a fantastic job in the construction of the team. It’s not just about our results, it’s also about [our style] of play, the strategy, the vision. I am also very proud of the sporting director [Luís Campos], who is doing an incredible job; all of the players too. We are very happy.”

GFFN | Luke Entwistle

 

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