The Ligue 1 champions’ top scorer had seemed certain to miss out after suffering a nasty knock in the Coupe de France final last month
Kylian Mbappe is set for a sensational return to action for Paris Saint-Germain in their Champions League quarter-final clash with Atalanta on Wednesday.
The 21-year-old had been expected to miss out after suffering an ankle injury in the Coupe de France final win over Saint-Etienne on July 24. However, PSG boss Thomas Tuchel has now suggested Mbappe is ready to play a role from the bench.
“If he has a good training session today and nothing extraordinary happens, he will be with the team tomorrow,” Tuchel told his pre-match press conference. “We are very happy that he is with the group and that we can have the possibility of finishing the match with him.”
If Mbappe does feature, even if only from the bench, it will represent a remarkable change of fortunes for PSG. Tuchel has previously said he thought it would take a “miracle” for Mbappe to be fit in time for the game, as the French champions look to stake their claim for the European crown.
Having Mbappe back eases some of the pressure on Neymar, although Tuchel feels the Brazilian has the mindset and ability to carry the PSG attacking threat if needed.
“I have the impression that there is always a lot of pressure on him, but he likes it,” said Tuchel of Neymar. “He is used to playing with this pressure.
“We are very happy that Kylian is also with the group and that we can have the possibility to finish the match with him, because the two like to play together. Neymar is decisive on the big matches and I am convinced that he can be the key man for us. He has the necessary quality for this kind of situation.”
While plenty of fans saw PSG as having received a favourable draw in Atalanta, Gian Piero Gasperini’s vibrant side are in the last eight on merit and scored 98 goals this season in Serie A.
Having his team as close to full strength as possible would, therefore, be a huge relief to Tuchel, who has already made clear his frustration at finishing the campaign without the likes of Edinson Cavani and Thomas Meunier, who have left the club.
Mbappe has scored 30 goals and registered 18 assists in 34 games in all competitions for PSG this season, their top scorer ahead of Mauro Icardi and Neymar.
Tuchel is also sweating on the fitness of key midfielder Marco Verratti, who didn’t fly to Portugal with the rest of the squad due to a calf injury.
“There isn’t much time, but we will try everything,” Tuchel said on the Italian.
Verratti has played in all but one of PSG’s Champions League outings so far this season, missing their last-16 second leg against Borussia Dortmund through suspension.