PSG's Tuchel optimistic Mbappe can feature against Atalanta
Paris St Germain’s Kylian Mbappe during training [David Ramos/Pool via REUTERS]

Paris St Germain’s injured World Cup-winning striker Kylian Mbappe could feature in Wednesday’s Champions League quarter-final against Atalanta, his coach Thomas Tuchel has said.

Mbappe, who has 30 goals in 34 matches in all competitions this season, suffered a serious ankle injury in the French Cup final win over St Etienne on July 24 and was considered a serious doubt for the last-eight clash with the Italians.

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But the 21-year-old has travelled to Lisbon with the squad for the ‘Final Eight’ tournament and Tuchel said he will be involved if he has no adverse reaction to training on Tuesday.

“If he has a good practice today and nothing extraordinary happens, he will be with the team tomorrow,” Tuchel told a news conference on the eve of the match.

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Later Tuchel made reference to the possibility of Brazilian striker Neymar finishing the game together with Mbappe, suggesting the Frenchman is most likely to start on the bench.

Asked about the added pressure that is on world record signing Neymar to deliver, Tuchel said he hoped Mbappe could give him some help later in the game.

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“I feel like there is always a lot of pressure on Neymar. But he likes it. He’s used to playing with that pressure,” he added.

“We are very happy that Kylian is also with the group and that we can have the opportunity to finish the match with him, because the two like to play together.

“Neymar is decisive in big matches and I am convinced that he can be the key man for us. He has the quality necessary for this kind of situation,” said Tuchel.

With Mbappe’s injury, PSG’s manager also knows he will need a strong contribution from Argentine forward Mauro Icardi.

“He is very important to us. It will be a good game for him to show his personality. He’s a guy who is never afraid, who can always score goals,” said the German coach.

“He is reliable tactically and puts in the work defensively too. Now is the time for him to show that he can take us to the semi-finals.”

 

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