Galtier feeling 'no extra pressure' ahead of PSG's Champions League bid

·3-min read

Christophe Galtier insists he is not feeling any extra pressure to lead Paris Saint-Germain to a first Champions League title ahead of Tuesday's opening group stage match against Juventus.

Despite investing heavily since Qatar Sports Investments (QSI) completed their 2011 takeover of the club, PSG are yet to be crowned champions of Europe and have suffered several humiliating exits from the continent's premier competition.

Last season, Real Madrid produced the first of several extraordinary Champions League turnarounds at PSG's expense in the last 16, leading the Parisians' star attackers to be jeered by their own supporters in subsequent matches.

Mauricio Pochettino's reign as coach, meanwhile, never appeared likely to recover from that elimination, but successor Galtier is not worrying about the expectations in Paris.

"Do I think there is more pressure on me? Not at all. I accepted the pressure when I accepted this job, and coaching this magnificent team," Galtier said.

"Do I feel more pressure in this competition? No, not at all. I am really looking forward to being involved and showing what we are capable of.

"I didn't say no pressure, but no extra pressure."

Asked whether PSG were the favourites to lift the trophy, Galtier added: "No. That would be disrespectful to the other teams.

"There are always eight or nine who feel they can win the Champions League every year. Out of those, of course, there are favourites that do not go all the way. There have been surprises and incredible matches.

"The club's ambition is to win it, whether we are favourites or not. The best players in the world are in this competition. It's as simple as that."

The 2022-23 campaign represents PSG's 11th consecutive season in the Champions League – among French clubs, only Lyon have ever had a longer uninterrupted run of qualifications for the tournament (12 from 2000-01 to 2011-12).

PSG have progressed from their group on each of their last 10 Champions League entries, last falling at the first hurdle in 2004-05.

While PSG's clash with Juventus represents one of the highlights of the Champions League's opening matchday, the hosts will be unable to welcome former winger Angel Di Maria back to the Parc des Princes after the Bianconeri new boy suffered a calf injury.

But Galtier is taking no pleasure from his absence, adding: "It's a shame that Di Maria cannot come back to the Parc des Princes.

"He made history at this club, an exemplary player who performed very well. I can't say I am pleased that he is out because he is injured, I know he would have liked to play.

"He brings his quality and experience, but I am convinced that whoever comes in will also be a top-level player."

PSG are looking to maintain a fine home record when they host the Bianconeri – the Parisians have only lost one of their last 30 home games in the Champions League group stage (24 wins, five draws), losing 2-1 to Manchester United in October 2020.