PSG boss Luis Enrique is confident that his players can cover enough hard yards as they get ready to face Brest for a place in the quarter-finals of the Coupe de France.
Following Brest’s comeback from being 2-0 down at half-time to draw their recent Ligue 1 match at Parc des Princes, PSG boss Luis Enrique faced questions about the squad’s fitness levels.
During the Champions League group stages, PSG ranked among the lowest teams for distance covered per match on average, at 113.84 kilometres.
Many of the PSG players reportedly hired personal trainers to incorporate extra fitness work alongside their sessions at club training.
But Enrique dismissed suggestions that his players needed to build up additional stamina.
“My teams play with possession to make the opponent run, so we do it less – not a single of my teams in my career has not run enough miles to win games,” the PSG coach said.
“In the Champions League, behind Manchester City, we are the team with the most ball possession – and we are much stronger when we have the ball.
“That doesn’t mean an opponent can’t have the ball more than us, the team which creates the most chances and takes the fewest is us.”
Luis Enrique tells of PSG squad’s superb shape
Enrique told a press conference: “For several years now, players have been calling on physical trainers, physiotherapists, osteopaths and nutritionists.
“If there is co-ordination and there are good balances (of training), that seems good to me.
“The players are becoming more and more professional and the club has a clear line on what it means to live the life of a professional and to have the best professionals to help the players.
“The vast majority have a chef at home, they have all the advantages – I would have liked to have a chef and a physiotherapist just for me (as a player), but it was a different time.”
Enrique is hopeful that PSG can draw lessons from their previous encounter with Brest to secure a spot in the quarter-finals of the French Cup.
“The advantage of playing two matches against Brest in a row is that we know our difficulties,” said Enrique.
“It is hard to press them, so we have to be better with and without the ball.
“We expect a difficult match, but it will also be a different match, since it is the Coupe de France.”
Enrique added: “In the championship, it is a lot of consistency. In the cup, it is knockout – if we have a bad match, we can be eliminated.
“It is a different approach and you have to be very strong mentally.”