Tyler Adams is unfazed at the prospect of facing Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Paris Saint-Germain in RB Leipzig’s UEFA Champions League semi-final on Tuesday, hailing his team’s “fearless mentality and fearless coach” in Julian Nagelsmann.
While the 21-year-old admitted to feeling “just pure excitement and pure joy” at having found the net, he is far from willing to rest on his laurels.
“For me [getting to the final] would be such an amazing achievement,” he told ESPN. “But the mentality that we all have is that if you’ve made it that far you don’t want to go home empty-handed. You want to be able to raise some silverware. If that happens, we’d all be in awe.”
The next step along the way for Leipzig is a semi-final encounter with PSG at the Estadio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica on Tuesday. Brazil international Neymar and France World Cup winner Mbappe were both instrumental in Thomas Tuchel's French champions beating Atalanta in the quarter-finals, and while Adams respects the superstar duo’s abilities, he is by no means overawed.
“I don’t think there’s a written game plan for how you can stop Neymar and Mbappe, but we’re confident in our defensive abilities. We’re confident in our team’s ability. We know we have to go out there and continue to play for each other because that’s what makes us so good.
“This fearless mentality that our team has, being such a young team, we go into these games thinking we can win everything. Confidence is key in these types of moments, but going out there and being able to execute is huge as well.”
That they have done exactly that up until now is something Adams attributes to the coaching ability of Nagelsmann, who, at just 33, is already a tactical expert.
“Nagelsmann’s ideas are brilliant,” Adams said. “You saw against Atletico how he managed the game and the different formations we switched in and out of throughout it to cause them problems. He’s someone that pushes the envelope, he’s not afraid to take risks.”
Watch: Nagelsmann brewing a Bundesliga storm
Furthermore, Nagelsmann has drilled his squad with the belief that they can compete and succeed at the highest level: “He’s a coach that gives us the confidence to play brave and make mistakes. As a young player when you’re told ‘it’s ok if you make mistakes’ then you go into games with full confidence.
“So I think that for a young team we have this fearless mentality, and obviously with a fearless coach it makes it a lot easier.”