PSG vs. Lyon: Christophe Galtier pre-match press conference

Christophe Galtier, PSG
Christophe Galtier, PSG / Eurasia Sport Images/GettyImages

PSG will kick April off early with a game against Olympique Lyon at the Parc des Prices on Sunday, Apr. 2nd. The matchup is part of the Ligue 1 MD29, with only nine games left in PSG's schedule after they crashed out of the Coupe de France and the Champions League through February and March.

Boasting a four-point lead over second-place Olympique Marseille, PSG will try to keep building their case for lifting a record-breaking 11th Ligue 1 title, something no team has ever done (Saint-Etinne and Paris Saint-Germain are tied at 10 apiece).

The gap between OM and PSG has shrunk to a minimum one so the team led by manager Christophe Galtier cannot afford many more mistakes if they don't want to enter a very dangerous territory and face the risk of not winning the league.

Coach Galtier attended the pre-match press conference on Friday afternoon.

Here are some of the most interesting nuggets ahead of the matchup against Lyon on Sunday in the return of PSG to the French championship for MD29 of the Ligue 1 season.

How have the last few days been?

"The group has been scattered all over the world with their nations, whether for young people or our most experienced players. There were a lot of players here, but nursing fitness problems. A lot of injuries had to be healed. For 6-7 days there were few players on the pitch. We took the opportunity to integrate 8-9 young people into the sessions. It wasn't until midweek that we started to get our internationals back, with the latest arrivals being Fabian Ruiz and Leo Messi."

Are you in favor of Lionel Messi's extension?

"We are working for next season with the management and Luis Campos. There is what we want to do, but also the positions of the players, of the club, what we must modify, improve, to be even more competitive. Regarding Leo's future, there is his position and that of the club. There are talks between the two parties. I'm focused on the ten matches that come up to get this title of champion of France. Regarding the negotiations, everything remains very confidential."

What should PSG expect this Sunday evening against Lyon?

"It's already the return of Laurent Blanc to the Parc des Princes. He had a good career with PSG and I think a lot of people will enjoy greeting him. We know that three days later, they have an important match in the Coupe de France, and that winning the cup would give them a ticket to European competitions. It's a goal for them, but I don't imagine Laurent Blanc arriving with a rotated team. PSG-OL is a classic in our championship, a very good matchup. The players will want to express themselves on Sunday evening because it is a game that everyone is waiting for. I don't imagine the players being restrained against PSG."

Will the title be decided over the next three games (Lyon, Nice, and Lens)?

"If we perform well in these three games, starting on Sunday, that would allow us to keep a significant advantage. Maybe grow it. Don't take the easy way out. In football, everything can go very quickly. We must remain vigilant, and keep our desire to win. In the three matches to come, we will have competitors on the podium, competitors who can think of the title, European competitors, these will be matches with a lot of stakes for one or the other."

How is Neymar?

"During the last fortnight, he came twice to the Camp des Loges to assess the condition of his operated ankle. He works in close collaboration with our medical staff. We talk over the phone, we follow his rehabilitation process. But when there are serious injuries like that, I'm more for a little message once in a while and leave it there, with the player continuing his rehabilitation. He is not yet in a state to do a lot of things in rehab, but of course, we keep in touch by phone."

Do you still feel legitimate to be PSG coach next season?

"Yes, I feel legitimate to still be the coach of PSG. With Luis (Campos) and the president, we are preparing for next season. There's a lot of talk about preparation, how we're going to build the squad. But the important thing for me today is the last ten games."

Don't you regret being the only person in this club to have to speak out in front of the press?

"It's part of the job. As a coach, I already have the obligation to face you. Sometimes it's nice. Sometimes less, but that's how it is… In the clubs where I was able to work, it was always the coach who spoke. At times, the president can speak through a media meeting. It could be a sports director… But I don't see anything abnormal about being in front of you."

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Kylian Mbappe was named captain of France. Will it happen at PSG?

"Many of us congratulated Kylian. It's a promotion, it's a heavy responsibility. I think it's the right choice that Kylian is the captain of the French team. In Paris, we have Marquinhos and some vice-captains, including Kylian. But Marquinhos is our captain. There's no reason for that to change now."