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PSG set for major injury boost ahead of United clash

Marco Veratti is in line for a return ahead of schedule.

Marco Veratti.
Marco Veratti.

MARCO VERATTI COULD return to action for Paris Saint-Germain in Wednesday’s Coupe de France match against Villefranche, head coach Thomas Tuchel has confirmed.

Veratti injured his ankle in PSG’s 9-0 league win against Guingamp last month, with a downbeat Thomas Tuchel describing the injury as “serious” and “the worst thing that could have happened to us.”

This raised fears that Veratti would miss the first leg of PSG’s Champions League tie with Manchester United on 12 February, further depleting a midfield already without the ostracised Adrien Rabiot. 

The Italy international resumed training on Monday, however, having only missed three matches.

Tuchel is prepared to play the midfielder in the cup trip against their third-tier opponents, provided he comes through their latest practice session unscathed.

“We have to decide today [Tuesday] if it’s possible for him to play again,” he told a news conference.

PSG will definitely be without Neymar, who is out for 10 weeks with a foot injury, and his absence coincided with their first Ligue 1 defeat of the season against Lyon last Sunday.

Despite missing the Brazil star’s creativity, Tuchel has ruled out asking Kylian Mbappe to adapt his game and try to fill in for his team-mate.

“I don’t want Kylian to play like Neymar and keep the ball,” he said. “Kylian is incredibly dangerous in the final move and I want him to stay that way.”

Tuchel expects his senior players to make sure PSG do not show any complacency against Villefranche, who knocked out last season’s surprise finalists Les Herbiers in the last round.

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“I expect a match with great domination and possession of the ball. They’re going to want to play on the counter-attack. We must play with seriousness and vigilance,” he said.

“It’s a decisive match, we definitely want to win and it’s our responsibility to win.

“We have experienced players like Gianluigi Buffon, Dani Alves and Thiago [Silva]. They play every match with the same state of mind.”

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