PSG returns to the Parc des Princes tonight hosting Strasbourg as part of the Ligue 1 matchday 16. Christophe Galtier held a pre-match press conference on Tuesday in which he shared some interesting nuggets ahead of the matchup with Strasbourg on Wednesday, Dec. 28. Here is what he said.
About his thoughts about getting back to playing club football after the long World Cup break
"Everything is going well after a six-week break. We have our players back, we are all excited to resume the competition."
About the French Boxing Day staged for the first time this season
"What worries me is that we play on Sunday afternoon before January 2. Everyone will go back to work and school (on Monday), and the stadiums won't be full."
Christophe Galtier spoke to the press ahead of the Ligue 1 game between PSG and Strasbourg
About the match against Strasbourg
"I expect a difficult match against Strasbourg because it is a team that is playing for its survival and that has had time to prepare well."
"When they have everyone available, they impose themselves on the pitch with their attackers."
"We'd be wrong if we judged them by the standings (RCSA are 19th in the Ligue 1). We are starting from zero (after the World Cup break). We had a good start to the season because the players were serious, committed, and determined. We will have to have all that tomorrow at kickoff because we must not forget that it has been six weeks of hiatus."
About introducing a third tactical formation (after using a 3-5-2 and a 4-3-3 this season)
" I try to offer several tactics to my players. We analyze our matches and look for ideas in other championships. A third system could be used eventually.
"This third formation should help to compensate for absences at the offensive or defensive level. But it is very important to consolidate in a scheme in which the players feel better."
About Renato Sanches missing Tuesday's training session and not being part of the matchday squad
"Sanches will not be available for tomorrow's match. He has a concussion."
"I have no doubt that he is back to the level he was at Lille. His return during the break showed me that he was not far from his best level."
About Kylian Mbappe and Achraf Hakimi potentially playing against Strasbourg
"Mbappe and Hakimi are available for the match."
"As for Neymar, Marquinhos, Vitinha, and the Spaniards, they had ten, twelve days off. They all returned on the scheduled dates (and are available too)."
"We manage on a case-by-case basis, there are some who returned earlier than planned. All are training normally."
"We have three players who have come from a long World Cup run, like Hakimi, who played all the World Cup matches but wanted to join us as soon as possible."
"Just like Kylian who has played all the games with great performances. After talking to him, he wanted to join us quickly. That does not mean that there is no time he needs to recover from a mental point of view. "
About the return of the World Cup participants
"Our team and training staff have shared a lot of information with the players to have an idea (of where everyone is at)."
"There is no better remedy than to return to their club as soon as possible after their breaks to regain a taste for competition."
"I see that everyone is available and in a good position mentally, happy to play together."
About Neymar's physical condition
"We saw his injury, his swollen ankle, but he was able to play in two games after he suffered it."
"Neymar was able to take care of himself and he had twelve days of rest. He went home with his medical team around him to treat his ankle. When he came back on the 22nd, he worked normally without restrictions."
"Neymar is fine physically, his ankle is fine. On a mental level, he's looking forward to playing, so everything is going well."
About the anticipated return of Lionel Messi
"Messi also had a great World Cup. Because of his victory and the celebrations in Argentina, we decided that he was going to rest until January 1.
"Messi will join us on Jan. 2nd or Jan. 3rd to resume his training at PSG."