Leipzig on the right track, says Poulsen

Yussuf Poulsen
Yussuf Poulsen is slowly getting back to his best after suffering a calf injury. Photo: AFP/Franck Fife

Danish striker Yussuf Poulsen has had great success with Bundesliga outfit RB Leipzig. The 27-yer-old has been with Leipzig for the past eight years in which the team has seen a remarkable transformation from being third division side to becoming one if the semifinalists in the UEFA Champions League besides finishing second behind Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga last season. Though Leipzig are languishing in ninth spot this season, Poulsen expressed confidence that the team will bounce back under new coach Domenico Tedesco. 

"We had a lot changes this year. We changed the coach, we lost a couple of our top players in the transfer window in the summer. Internally also a lot of changes. At some point when people who have been here for a long are not here any more it takes time to get back to the level you've already achieved. I guess it's normal. We didn't perform as well as we wanted to. We have got a new coach that we are fast getting used to. He's a lot of good ideas. We are on the right track," Poulsen said during an online media interaction on Wednesday.

Poulsen pointed out Leipzig's dream run in the 2019-20 Champions League where they lost to Paris St-Germain in the semifinals as the club's high point.

"I think one of our biggest achievements is going into the semifinals, being one of the last-four (teams) in Europe. That's a big, big achievement. Eight years ago we were playing in the third division and to go into the top-four of all European teams is big." 

Poulsen is slowly getting back to his best after suffering a calf injury early this season. "I had a bit of longer holidays than the other guys. I was a little bit behind the other guys in terms of fitness. After the winter holiday I played my first match. I think it was good. I was only able to play only 45 minutes as fixed after talks with the physios and doctors. It went quite well. It was hard but I am on the right track."

Teams across the world have ben troubled by the COVID-19 and Poulsen explained the challenges of playing during the pandemic.

"The problem of course is the limitation of the squad. It's affecting every team all over the world. But the time we are living in you need to manage having less personnel. We have tests every day, we are more protected than average people. We've to manage."

Denmark made it to the semifinals of Euro 2020 and also qualified for the Qatar 2022 World Cup by topping their group. Poulsen attributed their success to having a group of talented players who have stayed together for a long time. "

"We've a group of people who are close to each other. We've played together for a long time from youth teams. The secret is to get consistency into the team. It's difficult to get that in national teams as compared to club football. We need to keep working hard. We have a great coach in Kasper Hjulmand  He's taken us to the new level and developed a very good team spirit. Kasper has developed the team tactically too," added Poulsen.

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