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Tuchel: 'Marquinhos is the heart and soul of our team'

Publish on 25/10/2020 at 10:34 - D. CROSSAN

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Paris Saint-Germain coach Thomas Tuchel justified his decision to play new midfielder Danilo Pereira in defence and Marquinhos is midfield by describing the Brazilian as "the heart and soul of our team."

An unused substitute in the Champions League defeat to Manchester United on Tuesday, captain Marquinhos returned to club duty in the 4-0 home win over Dijon at the Parc des Princes on Saturday, having recovered from a thigh injury sustained on international duty. The 26-year-old played 73 minutes before being replaced, keeping him fresh for Wednesday's Champions League match at Basaksehir.

Tuchel commented: "My choice wasn't purely tactical. Marquinhos is the heart and soul of our team. That's why he must play at the heart of the action, but also because he's talented. He has all the qualities to play in midfield, and has a worker's mentality. He can help the defenders and the forwards at the same time. It's important that he's close to everybody as he's the boss. 'Marqui' covers more ground than anybody else in the team and is valuable in the counter-pressing.

"He is exceptional"

"If 'Marqui' needs to play at the back, then he will, but he has proven his ability in midfield. He can really push the team to its best level. He did that several times last season, notably during the 'Final 8' in Portugal. He scored against Atalanta and Leipzig. He is exceptional."

The German coach is convinced Danilo, the Portuguese international signed on loan from Porto, can excel at centre-half. He said: "He has already played in that position and so we tested him there. He has all the qualities to play in the position as we play very high up the field with possession, and will often find himself in the same position he would have been in if he was playing defensive midfield. He's capable of distributing the ball, is very strong in the air and has good spirit."

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