Champions League: RB Leipzig coach Julian Nagelsmann wary of ‘top players’ Neymar, Kylian Mbappe ahead of PSG clash
Nagelsmann, the youngest of the four managers in the 2019-20 Champions League semis, says the only way to stop PSG's fearsome attack is to defend as a unit.
Lisbon: RB Leipzig coach Julian Nagelsmann plans to subdue Paris Saint-Germain's counter-attacking game, inspired by Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, and pull off another upset in Tuesday's Champions League semi-final.
Nagelsmann, 33, is the youngest coach to reach the last four of the Champions League and will attempt to repeat Leipzig's surprise quarter-final win over Diego Simeone's Atletico Madrid when they face PSG in Lisbon.
"We are a team that can take our chances against the top teams in Europe. We saw that against Atletico," Nagelsmann said Monday.
"The players really have the will to win, we are hungry and I can see that in their faces.
"We were great against Atletico, now we have a chance against Paris.
"We have to avoid losing the ball, because PSG are very strong on the counter-attack, but we'll try to take the game by the scruff of the neck."
PSG reached the last four with a last-gasp 2-1 win over Atalanta when Neymar and Mbappe set up late goals for Marquinhos and Eric Choupo-Moting.
Nagelsmann says the only way to stop PSG's fearsome attack is to defend as a unit.
"You can't foresee what Neymar and Mbappe could do, they're top players. We need to defend them as a team.
"It'll be difficult, but we need to make them work and put them under pressure.
"We want to play our own game and focus on ourselves as opposed to thinking about Paris."
Nagelsmann will try to outfox opposite number Thomas Tuchel for a place in Sunday's final, 12 years after the pair worked together in Augsburg's reserves.
When a persistent knee injury forced Nagelsmann to retire barely out of his teens, Tuchel offered the chance to scout for him.
Tuchel, 46, is well aware of his protege's qualities as a coach.
"We know Leipzig change their tactics from game to game and can also adapt mid-match," said Tuchel.
"It's going to be a tough game to prepare for.
"We just need to focus on ourselves, our tactics, structure and qualities, and look to impose our game."
Brazil superstar Neymar had hurt his ankle during their opening game of the FIFA World Cup against Serbia, and is set to miss the upcoming Group G clash against Switzerland.
Cristiano Ronaldo is expected to sign a two-and-a-half year deal with Al-Nassr worth nearly 200 million euros ($210 million) a season, starting in January.
From forcing a Puma store shut down to creating chaos inside the stadium during Brazil’s group match, Neymar’s lookalike has done it all.