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PSG manager Tuchel baffled by Mbappe’s Champions League goal drought



The French forward has not scored in the European competition for nearly a year and his coach cannot provide a reason for that barren run

Thomas Tuchel cannot explain Kylian Mbappe’s drought in the Champions League but is confident the Paris Saint-Germain star can make a decisive impact against Manchester United

Tuchel’s men, who lost in last season’s final to Bayern Munich, face a challenge to progress to the last 16 of this year’s competition after a series of unconvincing performances in the group stage.

United, having won the reverse fixture in Paris, lead Group H with nine points, with PSG and RB Leipzig level on six points heading into the final two pool games.

Key to PSG’s struggles has been their form in front of goal. While United have scored 12 goals in four games, PSG have found the net just five times.

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United have converted 21.8 per cent of their shots compared to 10.4 for PSG.

PSG have taken advantage of 37.5 per cent of their big chances. In stark contrast to the profligacy shown by the Ligue 1 champions, United have found the net from 83.3 per cent of their big chances.

Mbappe has not scored in the Champions League since a 5-0 win over Galatasaray on December 11 last year, despite taking 11 shots – including one big chance – this term.

Of that barren run, Tuchel told a media conference: “I heard about that statistic [the drought] and I was surprised. I can’t explain it because he has everything needed to score at every level. He has the quality, the personality and the experience to be decisive.”

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Group stage elimination would be disastrous for PSG and Tuchel, and he says they are doing their best to prepare for the big game without being weighed down by a fear of failure.

He said: “We felt the same against Leipzig. Victory was also compulsory. It may depend on the result from Leipzig to Basaksehir before.

“It’s a very big challenge to come to Old Trafford to win, but it’s not impossible. We will prepare ourselves tactically and mentally to be liberated and disciplined for a big fight. It will take the necessary solidarity to overcome this obstacle.”

Former PSG striker Edinson Cavani may start for United after scoring twice as a substitute to help them to a comeback Premier League win at Southampton.

Tuchel said of his former player: “He was decisive in the second half at Southampton. He showed all his quality, his heart, his determination. It’s no surprise, we know him well. We will have to find solutions against him if he is on the pitch, that’s for sure.”

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