Paris Saint-Germain manager Mauricio Pochettino has insisted that his side and Chelsea look the favourites on paper to win the Champions League.
The Blues, who are the holders from last season, got their title defence off to a winning start on Tuesday. Indeed, Romelu Lukaku’s header – his fourth goal in four games – proved the winner in a 1-0 victory over Zenit St Petersburg.
Meanwhile, PSG come into this term’s competition – as always – with huge expectations. They reached the final in 2020 before losing in the semi-finals in 2021.
However, this summer, they have recruited heavily. Lionel Messi and Sergio Ramos are the headline acquisitions, but they have also brought in ex-Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum, Achraf Hakimi and Gianluigi Donnarumma.
Pochettino’s side play on Wednesday against Club Brugge, but he admitted that his side are not a “team” yet, as opposed to Chelsea.
Speaking before the Blues’ win over Zenit, Pochettino told ESPN: “It’s possible that Chelsea and ourselves are the two teams to beat on paper, looking at our squads.
“But Chelsea are the holders so they’re the team to beat especially after strengthening their squad.
“We’re not a team yet. We are a club that has recruited many players this summer. There are some big names but we have to turn into a team.
“We know that we’ll be judged at the end of the season on our results. The pressure is there for all the clubs and we know that for a number of years, the Champions League is PSG’s main objective.”
PSG are not only under pressure to deliver in the Champions League. They also have to reclaim the Ligue 1 title, following Lille’s triumph last season.
Chelsea, meanwhile, are expecting to push for the Premier League title. However, they are up against Manchester City, Liverpool and Manchester United.
Tuchel lauds opening Chelsea win
Speaking after the1-0 win, Tuchel said: “It was not frustrating. It was tough against very strong opponents. We had to work really hard. I felt a huge intensity from us which we brought to the game.
“We struggled a bit to create chances and shots in the first half. In the second half it was a bit easier to find spaces and shoot.
“It was a deserved win. Hard earned. It took us a while to make them tired but I liked what I saw.”
Chelsea’s next game sees them face Tottenham away from home on Sunday.