Exclusive: Paris Saint-Germain star and France’s FIFA World Cup winning hero Presnel Kimpembe on UEFA Champions League Quarter-finals, talks Euro 2020

Paris Saint-Germain currently stands top of Ligue 1 courtesy of registering 68 points from 27 league games this season.

Les Rouge et Bleu, owned by Qatar Sports Investments, presently remains on course in successfully nearing closer to winning their 9th Ligue 1 title since the Parisian club was founded 50 years ago in 1970.
Thomas Tuchel’s in-form side, who have earned 19 from a possible 21 points (90.4% win percentage) in their last seven Ligue 1 encounters, currently remains 19 points ahead of 4th place Lille OSC; PSG remains undefeated at home at the Parc des Princes this year. PSG has also logged three clean sheets in the 2019/2020 Ligue 1 campaign since January 2020.
PSG have furthermore conceded 24 and scored 75 goals this season in Ligue 1, while the Ligue 1 champions have also won by four goals or more on nine separate occasions in all competitions since the start of this year.
PSG, the reigning Ligue 1 champions who have won the league for the last two consecutive seasons, presently remains 12 points clear at the top ahead of André Villas-Boas’ second-place Olympique de Marseille; PSG won Ligue 1 by a 16 point margin last season.
Paris Saint-Germain meanwhile, who has advanced into the UEFA Champions League Quarter-finals after defeating Borussia Dortmund 3-2 on aggregate in the Round of 16, remains in pursuit of winning its first-ever UEFA Champions League title in club history under Thomas Tuchel. PSG was eliminated by Manchester United in the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 last season.
PSG’s leading goalscorers, Kylian Mbappé (18 goals), Neymar Jr (13 goals), Mauro Icardi (12 goals) and Angel di María (7 goals), who have collectively scored 50 this season for Paris Saint-Germain, have been among the key catalysts for the reigning Ligue 1 champions.
Before Paris Saint-Germain’s UEFA Champions League Round of 16 3-2 aggregate win against Borussia Dortmund at the Parc des Princes in Paris, FOX Sports Radio 96.9FM/1340AM’s Dean Perretta briefly caught up with Paris Saint-Germain and France’s FIFA World Cup-winning star, Presnel Kimpembe, 24, to discuss the UEFA Champions League expectations of Les Rouge et Bleu, maintaining high-performance standards in Ligue 1, coupled alongside Kimpembe’s candid thoughts on Thomas Tuchel’s football philosophy.
Dean Perretta: Presnel, can you talk about Paris Saint-Germain’s form this season and, of course, the great virtues of Les Rouge et Bleu mentality of not allowing complacency to set in throughout the Ligue 1 campaign irrespective of a healthy lead at the top?
Presnel Kimpembe: I think the first thing is the global misconception people have when it comes to Ligue 1. Some people, especially non-French people, may think it’s not necessarily a strong league, which is wrong. Every opponent against us often plays their game of the year, which makes it even more challenging for us. Just ask players from PSG who have played in other leagues, they will tell you how tough it is. For us, it’s much more complicated than it appears when you look at the ranking. You were talking about mentality and I truly think that our mind allows us to be as good as that. In our team, you have some World Champions, players who have won the UEFA Champions League and so many other titles, and no matter what, they want to win every weekend. Last but not least, I would say that we enjoy playing football together which helps to set high standards for every game. We want to be the best, we want to be champions and we want to play well. That’s the recipe.
Dean Perretta: PSG has advanced into the UEFA Champions League Quarter-finals courtesy of defeating Borussia Dortmund in the previous round. Can you reveal more about your thoughts on PSG’s performances in the UEFA Champions League this term and indeed the confidence levels within the squad with regards to winning the competition for the first-ever time in club history?
Presnel Kimpembe: I think we did well. We could have done way better in Dortmund but managed to turn around the game at home in a really strange context as we couldn’t play in front of our fans. That’s the reason why we had a special celebration with them afterward. They’d been amazing outside Parc des Princes. Sports-wise, it was a massive win for us as we were kind of stuck at this stage of the UEFA Champions League for the past two years despite having a fierce will to perform in this competition. So yes, this game brought us confidence but the job is still to be done. When will it be? We don’t know, but we will be ready, that’s for sure, focusing 200% on the next game, and see where this leads in the end.
Dean Perretta: Can you touch on the philosophy and technical preparation of Thomas Tuchel, especially from a player’s perspective?
Presnel Kimpembe: The coach wants aggressivity, spirit, and communication without the ball as speed, velocity and lots of movement with the ball. He is very close to us players and very committed.
Dean Perretta: With regards to PSG’s technical improvements, which particular areas of the game do you feel the team has grown most since the start of this year?
Presnel Kimpembe: There are more density and intensity in the team. We are more compact if that makes sense. The coordination is better when we press our opponents. I also feel we have improved how we control the ball during games.
Dean Perretta: Lastly, Euro 2020 has now officially been rescheduled for next summer. However, what is your overall reaction to France’s group opponents at Euro 2020?
Presnel Kimpembe: The Group F will be even tougher because I think the German national team will use this year to improve even more, especially with all the amazing young talents they have on their roster. Considering Portugal is the reigning European Champions, they keep providing some of the top league’s best players, so we know that it will be a great challenge for us to beat those two teams. Cristiano Ronaldo will be one year older but that guy doesn’t age like regular people, so I don’t think it’s an issue for him. We still don’t know who will be the fourth team in the group, which is a bit strange but we need to focus on ourselves as I think we can be a serious contender. Especially as we’ve had a lot of important players injured this season, such as Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kanté, so I think this additional year could be a good thing. From a personal point of view, I will work as hard as I can to be able to be in squad first and play a key role in it (at Euro 2020). We have such history with this squad since (winning) the World Cup (two years ago), I can’t wait for it.
Dean Perretta
Dean Perretta is a 2x SEA Award-winning creative, Broadcast Journalist, Reporter, Courtside Analyst for BBC televised London Lions and Executive Producer who currently contributes to FOX Sports Radio, FourFourTwo Magazine and Muscle & Fitness Magazine.