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Thomas Tuchel does not believe Paris Saint-Germain have lost their fear factor but feels fatigue has made them less of a force ahead of a top-of-the-table clash with Lille.

PSG head to Stade Pierre-Mauroy on Sunday looking to consign the leaders to a first home defeat of the season in Ligue 1.

Lille are a point ahead of the champions with just one defeat in 15 games in the French top flight in the 2021-21 campaign.

Under-pressure PSG coach Tuchel, who is without the likes of Neymar due to injury, says a hectic schedule has taken a toll on the Parisian giants, who have lost four times in Ligue 1 this season.

He said in a press conference on Saturday: “I’m not sure about other teams being less scared [of PSG], but I think that we are a bit tired both physically and mentally, and that that gives them a chance to fight with us.

“We have lots of injuries and players missing, we had a situation after the Champions League, that’s how it is, so we do feel mentally tired. It’s not an excuse, just the reality. That’s a problem and it’s why we’ve lost too many points.

“Now the situation is one that we have to adapt to, to accept. We have another big challenge because Lille are a very strong team and it’s a very big challenge to play them, particularly away from home.

“You can also see in other leagues that there isn’t one team winning every game like we have done in previous years and with a 10-point lead, it’s not happening, it is tighter this year, we have to accept it and not see it as too big of a problem.

“We have to be more consistent and battle more and more, we have two games coming up and it will be very difficult. We have done well in training, shown good quality and the right mindset.

“I also think that [former PSG goalkeeper Gianluigi] Buffon explained in an interview this week that in big competitions such as the World Cup or Champions League there is a general fatigue – that is the reality.

“This applies here as well. It is more demanding than usual, and without the fans pushing us forward, giving us that energy, it’s difficult. It’s not impossible, but is more difficult.”

Tuchel expects his side to come back refreshed in 2021 and ready to battle for more trophies.

He added: “I’m convinced that we won’t lose the title now. I think January and February will be the decisive months, because after the short break and no Champions League games, it will be easier to focus purely on Ligue 1.

“We have many games to play in January and February, just before the Champions League returns, so I think that will be a key period. There are no matches on Boxing Day, which is good, because we need a bit of a break.”

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December 19, 2020
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