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Sports News

PSG coach to discuss France-Turkey tensions with players before Champions League game

Soccer Football - Ligue 1 - Paris St Germain v Olympique de Marseille - Parc des Princes, Paris, France - September 13, 2020 Paris St Germain coach Thomas Tuchel wearing a protective face mask before the match REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Paris St Germain coach Thomas Tuchel said he would discuss the diplomatic tensions between France and Turkey ahead of their Champions League game at Istanbul Basaksehir on Wednesday.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan called on Monday for Turks to boycott French goods and urged European Union leaders to halt French leader Emmanuel Macron’s “anti-Islam” agenda.

“I haven’t spoken to the players but maybe we are going to talk about it because we’re not just football players. I said I’m sad that we can’t live together in harmony, so we’re going to talk about it, we’re going to discuss it with the players, but not too much because we need to focus on the game,” German Tuchel told a news conference on Tuesday.

Macron has pledged to fight “Islamist separatism”, saying it was threatening to take over some Muslim communities in France.

The country has since been shaken by the beheading of a teacher by an Islamist militant, avenging the use of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad in a class on freedom of expression.

PSG captain Presnel Kimpembe said that he felt no tension ahead of the game.

“I didn’t feel any tension. We are football players and as long as UEFA says we can play here, we come to play our match and we go home. It’s out of our hands,” said Kimpembe.

The French champions are under pressure having lost their opening Group H match to Manchester United at home last week.

Writing by Julien Pretot; Additional reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu and Ece Toksabay; Editing by Toby Davis

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