Thomas Tuchel feels Paris Saint-Germain’s Champions League struggles have been exaggerated to a similar extent to Roger Federer’s perceived dominance in tennis.
Ever since Qatar Sports Investments (QSI) became PSG’s owners in 2011, the club have been obsessed with Champions League success, spending vast amounts of money in their quest to become Europe’s greatest team.
But in that time, the furthest they have gone in Europe’s elite competition is the quarter-finals, suffering gutting collapses against Barcelona and Manchester United along the way.
However, with Kylian Mbappe, Mauro Icardi and Neymar impressing this season, there is a belief PSG have a front three capable of setting the standard in Europe.
Borussia Dortmund await PSG in the last 16 of this season’s Champions League – with the first leg set for February 18 – and Tuchel is remaining relaxed despite the external pressure, highlighting that, although Federer has won more grand slams than anyone else, he does not win them all.
“If I tell you not to think about a pink elephant, you will think about it,” Tuchel told reporters ahead of Wednesday’s Coupe de France clash with Dijon.
“You have to accept the context. I said after [being eliminated by] Manchester United, ‘guys, we will try again next year’.
“The group stage, the last 16, that’s how it is. It’s the same for tennis. Everyone thinks that Roger Federer has always won, but it’s not like that.
“We are confident, we have improved. We have a good group. I am grateful for this chance. The first game was never a problem, everyone will talk about the second game. It is sport and it must remain sport.
“We can also say that it is our fault, with the matches against Barcelona and Man United. We lost these matches there and we cannot wait for everyone to be super positive.
“For me, that does not change. We are here every day with the team, we are very happy to be in the last 16. It’s a dream for everyone to play in the Champions League with a club like PSG.
“We always remain positive, you can only influence the context by giving everything you have. It’s up to us, we don’t let ourselves be influenced from the outside.
“The context doesn’t make things easier, but it’s sport, that’s how it is. Try, try again and never give up.”