'The atmosphere is very good' - PSG still buoyant despite Manchester United loss, insists Rafinha

Rafinha Nimes PSG Ligue 1 16102020
The former Barcelona man says that adapting to his new club has been a straightforward process
The Paris Saint-Germain squad have retained a good atmosphere around the club, despite a 2-1 Champions League loss to Manchester United last week, according to Rafinha.

Marcus Rashford’s late goal consigned the Parisians to a shock opening night loss against Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side, and in the aftermath, they were forced to field questions over their desire and togetherness.

They responded at the weekend by sweeping past lowly Dijon 4-0 – a match in which Neymar caught the eye and Kylian Mbappe scored a quick-fire double after coming off the bench – but they now face a crunch encounter in Turkey against Istanbul Basaksehir on Wednesday.

Rafinha, who only arrived at the club late in the summer transfer window from Barcelona, is insistent that Thomas Tuchel’s side retain a high morale.

“The atmosphere inside the locker room is very good, with players who have known each other for years,” he told the club’s official site. “I adapted well during these first days, which were very pleasant because my new team-mates welcomed me very well.

“It all happened very quickly, and I have to thank the players and the coach for explaining to me how the club works in these first weeks.”

He was given a quick debut in Nimes due to injuries and unavailability, but it was something he was braced for.

“When I saw that the players were returning from the national teams on Wednesday or Thursday for the most part and that the game was on Friday, I understood that the coach would probably need the guys who had not been called up. So I was ready, and I was able to start the match,” he said.

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Although PSG have typically used a 4-2-2-2 this season, when Rafinha has been called upon, they have switched to a 4-3-3, and it is a formation in which he feels at home.

“It's a system that I know well,” he said. “I grew up playing 4-3-3, I know the movements that we must do when we evolve in this system. I was able to adapt a lot more easily. When I take up the space, a team-mate takes my place, so you have to communicate well. It's important when you play in the middle in this formation.”

Rafinha will be seeking to make his first Champions League start with PSG on Wednesday, with Thomas Tuchel deprived of Marco Verratti, Leandro Paredes, Julian Draxler and Idrissa Gueye in midfield.