Presnel Kimpembe may have been guilty of "overconfidence" with the mistake that preceded a tense finale in Paris Saint-Germain's 2-1 victory over Nantes on Tuesday, said Thomas Tuchel.

Mauro Icardi's first-half goal was added to by Thilo Kehrer to put PSG in control of the Ligue 1 game at La Beaujoire, on a night when the Parisians were without Neymar due to a rib injury.

However, Kimpembe's attempt to flick a pass from Marco Verratti behind his standing leg and to Kehrer ended up going straight to Moses Simon, who raced through to score with 22 minutes remaining.

Simon missed a one-on-one with Keylor Navas and substitute Renaud Emond wasted a glorious chance to snatch a point for Nantes in stoppage time.

"Sometimes it's like that. The pitch was difficult and I am impressed with the way we played for 70 minutes," Tuchel told Canal+.

"It was excellent. We were aggressive and we had total control. We could have made 4-0 and after one mistake, it was 2-1.

"It may be overconfidence, but it can happen. You shouldn't take too many risks. They had opportunities and played with great courage afterwards.

"It's football. But the most important thing is that we had quality, and we always had opportunities to score the third. But the mentality is excellent."

Kylian Mbappe started despite reacting angrily to being substituted during Saturday's 5-0 victory over Montpellier at the Parc des Princes.

The World Cup winner was bright in the first half but missed a couple of chances as PSG came under pressure in the closing stages.

Asked for his assessment of Mbappe's display, Tuchel said: "He played a top match."

Kehrer was frustrated PSG were unable to find a third goal but refused to lay blame on Kimpembe for the pressure they came under.

"In the second half, we had big chances, but we didn't score and we didn't kill the match. We knew that Nantes play well at home and remain aggressive. They pushed and it was not easy," said Kehrer.

"I don't think [Kimpembe's mistake] made us doubtful. We felt like we were always in control. In matches, there are always mistakes. We are a team and we are here to win."

Mauro Icardi and Thilo Kehrer were on target as Paris Saint-Germain ground out a 2-1 win against Nantes in the absence of Neymar at La Beaujoire on Tuesday.

The build-up to the game was overshadowed by talk of discontent at PSG, with Thomas Tuchel frustrated by Neymar's decision to hold a birthday party on Sunday and Kylian Mbappe reacting angrily to being substituted in Saturday's 5-0 victory over Montpellier.

The announcement that Neymar would miss the trip to Nantes with a rib injury consequently proved controversial, but Icardi and Kehrer put the visitors on the path to what looked set to be a routine win.

Moses Simon capitalised on an error from Presnel Kimpembe in the 68th minute to set up a tense final but PSG held on to make it seven straight wins in all competitions and extend their unbeaten run to 20 games.

Icardi saw his first effort in the third minute denied by Denis Petric, while Mbappe had a penalty appeal ignored after going down under pressure from Andrei Girotto.

Mbappe raced in behind the Nantes defence but lifted his attempt over, before Kimpembe saw a header cleared off the line by Abdoul Kader Bamba.

PSG got the breakthrough their attacking play deserved in the 29th minute when Mbappe sprinted beyond Girotto and cut the ball back to Angel Di Maria, whose sweeping shot found the bottom-right corner with the help of the slightest of deflections off Icardi.

Girotto's attempt to cut out a cross from Di Maria sent the ball crashing against his own crossbar early in the second half, but they doubled their lead in the 57th minute when the Argentine's corner was headed home by Kehrer.

Nantes responded positively and Kimpembe's attempt to flick a heavy pass from Marco Verratti to Kehrer was intercepted by Simon, who raced away and tucked a cool finish beyond Keylor Navas.

Substitute Thomas Meunier was kept at bay by Petric in the 90th minute and Renaud Emond missed a glorious chance to equalise in stoppage time, sending a tame volley too close to Navas.

Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar will miss Tuesday's Ligue 1 match away at Nantes due to a rib injury.

Head coach Thomas Tuchel insisted the Brazil international's decision to hold a 28th birthday party two days before the fixture would not impact upon his team selection, despite describing the event as a "distraction".

But Neymar will not be involved after PSG left him out of their 19-man squad, citing a rib cartilage injury that was confirmed after tests were carried out on Monday.

Neymar played the full 90 minutes in the 5-0 home win over nine-man Montpellier on Saturday, though he had limped off towards the end of the first half in an injury scare following an awkward landing in a challenge with Arnaud Souquet.

PSG confirmed the injury did relate to that incident and will hope to have the forward back in time to face Lyon on Sunday.

The Montpellier clash was a match that also saw Neymar fume at referee Jerome Brisard, earning him a booking for dissent, with reports documenting an angry exchange with the match official that continued into the tunnel.

Neymar's fellow forward Kylian Mbappe is selected in the group to take on Nantes despite his exchange with Tuchel after being substituted in the second half.

Tuchel was unimpressed after the victory, reminding Mbappe it is he who decides which players come on or off, but said in his pre-match news conference he did not think the situation would prompt the France international to seek a transfer.

Along with Neymar, the club's injury list includes Marquinhos, Thiago Silva, Ander Herrera, Juan Bernat, Abdou Diallo, Colin Dagba and Garissone Innocent.

Neymar has 13 goals in 14 Ligue 1 appearances this season, helping leaders PSG open up a 12-point advantage over Marseille in second.

Kylian Mbappe appeared angry at being substituted on Saturday but Thomas Tuchel does not think the attacker will use it as a reason to leave Paris Saint-Germain.

Tuchel replaced Mbappe with Mauro Icardi in the 68th minute of PSG's 5-0 win over Montpellier and was involved in a heated discussion with the World Cup-winning France star.

The 21-year-old has long been linked with a move to Real Madrid and Zinedine Zidane has made no effort to hide his admiration for the former Monaco striker.

However, Tuchel does not expect their confrontation to be the beginning of the end of Mbappe's time in Paris.

"I can't think that Mbappe might use this situation as a reason to leave the club," he said ahead of Tuesday's trip to Nantes in Ligue 1.

"He is one of our players, he has a contract. I took that decision and this is the coach's job.

"It's not personal between us. It's just a thing between a player who doesn't want to be substituted and a coach who has reasons to do so, because he has players on the bench who need and deserve to play.

"The problem is there are cameras, fans, journalists, and a lot of people want to talk about it. This is why I was sad. There were a lot of positive things to talk about on the pitch.

"I talked with Leo [sporting director Leonardo], as we usually do, at 11, after the game. But it will be between us and the staff, it stays in the locker room."

Tuchel issued a defiant response when asked if he made the decision because it is easier for him to take off Mbappe rather than Neymar.

"If I wanted to be a politician I would work in politics. I am a coach. I can only think about sports," said Tuchel.

"I made the decision to leave Mauro Icardi and Edinson Cavani on the bench, starting with Pablo Sarabia, they didn't like that obviously. But that's a sporting choice.

"Sometimes it's better to have a left- or right-footed player, but I cannot think about politics. I cannot think it is hard to leave an individual on the bench.

"I am convinced that the players and the dressing room, everyone understands those decisions because this is how it works. I am the coach and have to make hard decisions.

"It's the same with substitutions. I decided that the game was finished. We have the possibility to let Pablo and Kylian leave the pitch and put Mauro Icardi and Edinson Cavani on the pitch because they deserved it. Julian Draxler could have played instead of Neymar, but I am not scared. Why should I be?

"I decided that Leandro Paredes deserved [to come one] because he was captain against Pau and played a great game. He deserved to start. This is why I wanted to give him some time on the pitch.

"I know it is hard for some players to accept, but in the end, for me, the only thing they have to accept are sporting things.

"If I start playing politics, I'm going to get lost. Everyone will put pressure on me and I'll only substitute Tanguy Kouassi because he's the youngest."

Thomas Tuchel denied there is a crisis at Paris Saint-Germain but expressed frustration over Neymar's birthday party, though it will not affect his team selection against Nantes.

Neymar marked turning 28 by inviting his team-mates, friends and family to a white-themed celebration at a nightclub in Paris on Sunday, just two days before PSG face Nantes in Ligue 1.

Tuchel branded the party a "distraction" following a 5-0 victory over Montpellier on Saturday, but said as long as players arrive to training on time and work hard it will not factor into his starting XI.

"You know that I always protect my players. I have a lot of reasons to do so because I have confidence, trust and really like my team. With the party, well, I accept the fact it is quite hard to protect players," said the PSG coach.

"But the context is bigger than just saying something is black or white. But I can't think about it for the starting 11. I cannot start thinking about who was there, who attended, at what time they left, thinking about what time they got home. I am the coach. Everybody has to be on time. Everyone will have to train seriously.

"Is it the best way to prepare for a game? No, obviously. Is it the worst thing that can happen? No, but it's a pity because we gave people the opportunity to talk badly about us.

"It's a shame because the team has a very strong mindset and now we need to adapt, but not in the way that I will have to leave players on the bench because they had a birthday party. No, it's not like that."

Tuchel, who was involved in a touchline confrontation with Kylian Mbappe after substituting him against Montpellier, did not attend Neymar's event but refuted the suggestion his relationship with PSG's star players has hit a nadir.

"It's not a crisis. I am not angry personally. I am the coach, they are top players and we need them both," added Tuchel, who said the pair could yet start together at La Beaujoire.

"We need them to win games. We play every three days. They are important and in the end we need to manage players within a strong team. We cannot have a split team. This is football and I'm absolutely convinced that only together can we be stronger.

"I am not angry with them. Sometimes in the relationship between a coach and a player, things are not easy. It's completely normal. It happens, and we have to be very calm, very clear and we have to keep going because it's not a big deal

"I decided not to be there during the celebration. It was my choice and that's it. It's nothing personal against Ney. It was my choice as the coach because it's the best thing for the coach not to be there."

Kylian Mbappe appeared angry at being substituted on Saturday but Thomas Tuchel does not think the attacker will use it as a reason to leave Paris Saint-Germain.

Tuchel replaced Mbappe with Mauro Icardi in the 68th minute of PSG's 5-0 win over Montpellier and was involved in a heated discussion with the World Cup-winning France star.

The 21-year-old has long been linked with a move to Real Madrid and Zinedine Zidane has made no effort to hide his admiration for the former Monaco striker.

However, Tuchel does not expect their confrontation to be the beginning of the end of Mbappe's time in Paris.

"I can't think that Mbappe might use this situation as a reason to leave the club," he said ahead of Tuesday's trip to Nantes in Ligue 1.

"He is one of our players, he has a contract. I took that decision and this is the coach's job.

"It's not personal between us. It's just a thing between a player who doesn't want to be substituted and a coach who has reasons to do so, because he has players on the bench who need and deserve to play.

"The problem is there are cameras, fans, journalists, and a lot of people want to talk about it. This is why I was sad. There were a lot of positive things to talk about on the pitch.

"I talked with Leo [sporting director Leonardo], as we usually do, at 11, after the game. But it will be between us and the staff, it stays in the locker room."

Tuchel issued a defiant response when asked if he made the decision because it is easier for him to take off Mbappe rather than Neymar.

"If I wanted to be a politician I would work in politics. I am a coach. I can only think about sports," said Tuchel.

"I made the decision to leave Mauro Icardi and Edinson Cavani on the bench, starting with Pablo Sarabia, they didn't like that obviously. But that's a sporting choice.

"Sometimes it's better to have a left or right footed played, but I cannot think about politics. I cannot think it is hard to leave an individual on the bench.

"I am convinced that the players and the dressing room, everyone understands those decisions because this is how it works. I am the coach and have to make hard decisions.

"It's the same with substitutions. I decided that the game was finished. We have the possibility to let Pablo and Kylian leave the pitch and put Mauro Icardi and Edinson Cavani on the pitch because they deserved it. Julian Draxler could have played instead of Neymar, but I am not scared. Why should I be?

"I decided that Leandro Paredes deserved [to come one] because he was captain against Pau and played a great game. He deserved to start. This is why I wanted to give him some time on the pitch.

"I know it is hard for some players to accept, but in the end, for me, the only thing they have to accept are sporting things.

"If I start playing politics, I'm going to get lost. Everyone will put pressure on me and I'll only substitute Tanguy Kouassi because he's the youngest."

Nantes have revealed a one-off Argentina-inspired kit they will wear in Sunday's Ligue 1 meeting with Bordeaux in memory of former striker Emiliano Sala.

Sala, along with pilot David Ibbotson, went missing on January 21 last year when their plane crashed over the English Channel a few days after his move to Cardiff City from Nantes had been confirmed.

The body of Argentina native Sala was later discovered and a report released by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) in August said he had clearly been exposed to the poisonous gas carbon monoxide. Ibbotson has not been found.

Nantes marked the anniversary of the incident by confirming the creation of a special strip in tribute to their former striker, with the kit set to be worn on Sunday against Bordeaux, Sala's first club in France.

Combattant et généreux, tu rêvais et méritais le maillot de l'Albiceleste. L’intégralité des bénéfices liés aux ventes de ce maillot sera allouée aux deux clubs formateurs argentins d’Emiliano.

 https://t.co/J9oVerGK5p pic.twitter.com/EMgEhTWTSe

— FC Nantes (@FCNantes) January 21, 2020

Profits from the jerseys will be donated to the two Argentinian clubs Sala played for as a child, Nantes said.

A statement read: "Because he dreamed of wearing the jersey of the Argentina national team, the players of Nantes will give up their traditional yellow and green jersey for a blue and white kit.

"This jersey, from which the entire sales profits will be allocated to the two Argentinian training clubs of Emiliano, is a way of paying homage to him."

Nantes also announced several other tributes to Sala will take place on Sunday, including a minute's applause and a "giant tifo".

Paris Saint-Germain head coach Thomas Tuchel said he could not explain his side's laboured performance in their 2-0 win against Nantes, admitting he noticed a lack of confidence among his players.

Kylian Mbappe scored after 52 minutes to give the Ligue 1 champions the lead at Parc des Princes and Neymar converted an 85th-minute penalty to make sure of the result, but Nantes missed numerous opportunities to get back on level terms.

PSG had Keylor Navas to thank for a string of fine saves on Wednesday that ensured the league leaders extended the gap at the top of Ligue 1 to five points over second-placed Marseille.

However, Tuchel was asked afterwards to explain why PSG's performance was not more convincing midweek.

"I do not know," he told Canal Plus. "It's a good question.

"I am convinced that we have desire but it is hard. It was hard today and we feel like it's hard for us for a few games now. My team has desire but it's hard for us.

"We lost four balls in the first four minutes - easy balls! This is not possible if you want to control a match, play offensively and be the team that has possession."

Boasting a five-point cushion over Marseille and a game in hand, PSG travel to Montpellier on Saturday with no reason to panic about the state of their title campaign.

But Tuchel, who must prepare his players for the visit of Galatasaray in the Champions League on December 11, said he would analyse the performance against Nantes to ascertain why performance levels have dipped.

He said: "We show desire but we lose confidence. We make bad decisions right now, we do not play free.

"I do not know, maybe it's not the only reason, but I'll watch the game again tomorrow [Thursday]."

Kylian Mbappe scored a sublime goal and Neymar converted a penalty as Paris Saint-Germain beat Nantes 2-0 to extend their Ligue 1 winning streak to three matches.

Mbappe, restored to the starting line-up at Mauro Icardi's expense, opened the scoring after 52 minutes with a deft backheel and Neymar netted five minutes from the end on a night when both players could have increased their side's advantage.

But PSG's finishing was as inconsistent as their defending and it was only by virtue of a lack of quality in the Nantes attack that Thomas Tuchel's league-leading side emerged with all three points.

Yet with a five-point cushion now and a game in hand on second-placed Marseille, the champions proved yet again that they can win without playing anywhere near their best.

PSG's dominance of Ligue 1 is such that they rarely come out all guns blazing, and the only clear chance of the early exchanges saw Ludovic Blas fire wide for Nantes from just outside the box.

Blas drew a good save from Keylor Navas after 27 minutes, the PSG goalkeeper getting down smartly to turn a low drive around his near post.

Neymar, having spent much of the game protesting against Nantes challenges, steered the ball into the net four minutes from half-time only to see his effort ruled out for a challenge by Julian Draxler on Imran Louza during the build-up.

Neymar missed a one-on-one chance in first-half stoppage-time and the champions piled forward again straight after the interval, Mbappe having a thunderous shot saved moments before he let Angel Di Maria's cross run between his legs and cleverly diverted it past goalkeeper Alban Lafont.

Nantes continued to threaten on the counter-attack and Navas made a strong save from Louza before a moment of madness saw substitute Icardi win a penalty.

Nicolas Pallois' backwards header was bound for Icardi who was pushed from behind by Labont and Neymar buried the ensuing penalty at the second attempt to make sure of the victory.

What does it mean? Relief for Neymar

With Mbappe justifying his inclusion ahead of Icardi with a goal, there was an uneasiness about Neymar until he found the net from the penalty spot - his first goal since recovering from a hamstring injury.

Navas plays a key role

PSG had enough chances to win the game comfortably but also afforded Nantes more space than Tuchel would have liked, and he had Navas to thank for a number of timely saves to preserve his side's clean sheet.

Not Louza's night

Nantes midfielder Louza breathed a sigh of relief when VAR ruled out a Neymar goal for which he would have likely been blamed, but he later fluffed his lines when presented with a clear chance to equalise.

What's next?

PSG face a difficult trip to in-form Montpellier on Saturday, while Nantes entertain struggling Dijon on Sunday.

Paris Saint-Germain will be without Marco Verratti when they take on Nantes on Wednesday.

Italy international Verratti came back from a knee injury in the 2-2 draw against Real Madrid on November 26, but a thigh issue sustained in training later that week resulted in a return to the treatment room.

Despite PSG being granted a matchday off when rain forced the postponement of their Ligue 1 meeting with Monaco on Sunday, the 27-year-old remains sidelined with fellow midfielder Ander Herrera, who has not played for a month due to a hamstring problem.

"Marco Verratti and Ander Herrera are injured and Presnel Kimpembe is suspended. All the others are fit," said Tuchel.

"Not playing on Sunday was a surprise. We had prepared the game, announced the starting 11 to the players, had a tactical meeting and then the game was postponed.

"I had an idea for Monaco, and a different one for Nantes. But without playing Sunday's game, it makes a difference. We've adapted. We took the return flight and then trained on Monday. I am convinced that we will be ready on Wednesday.

"We are expecting Nantes in a 4-4-2. They started the season well, with many good results. It has been more difficult in recent weeks, but they won their last game. They're a very strong team, defending together. So it will be a tough game for us, but I think we're ready."

PSG captain Thiago Silva will be out of contract at the Parc des Princes at the end of the season and Tuchel was unable to offer an update on the Brazilian's future.

"It is not my decision. It is something between the player, his agent and the club. The coach just gives their opinion," Tuchel said.

"We have to wait, to be patient. We prefer to talk about it if we have something to say. Thiago Silva is our captain. There is nothing new about this."

Cardiff City have been threatened with a three-window transfer ban by FIFA if they fail to pay the first instalment of the fee owed to Nantes for the late Emiliano Sala.

The FIFA Players' Status Committee ruled in September that Cardiff must hand over a €6million (£5.3m) payment for club-record signing Sala, who, along with pilot David Ibbotson, died when their Piper Malibu aircraft crashed in January. 

Sala had accepted a move but Cardiff claimed the agreement to pay Nantes £15m was not legally binding because conditions insisted upon by the selling club were not fulfilled.

Cardiff announced in a statement last month that they intend to appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport, but world football governing body FIFA has outlined its reasons and ordered the Welsh side to pay up.

FIFA confirmed in a 21-page document published on Monday that the threat of a ban, which would run through until the end of the 2020-21 campaign, will be lifted if Cardiff make the payment within 45 days.

A new striker in January is a priority at Manchester United and reports suggest a familiar face could make a sensational return to England.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has previously said the club will be doing business after Christmas, with a striker still required following the departures of Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez.

Marcus Rashford has scored three goals in his previous two matches, while Anthony Martial marked his return from injury with a goal against Norwich City last Sunday, but a surprising name could provide the answer to United's depth issues up top.

 

TOP STORY – MANCHESTER UNITED MAKE CONTACT WITH IBRAHIMOVIC

Manchester United have made contact with former striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, according to TuttoMercatoWeb.

Ibrahimovic scored 30 goals in MLS for LA Galaxy in 2019, but they were eliminated from the post-season after a 5-3 defeat to cross-town rivals LAFC in the Western Conference semi-finals last weekend.

Interest in the former Barcelona, Inter Milan and Paris Saint-Germain striker has increased since the end of LA Galaxy's season with the Swede still believing he can contribute at the highest level.

The 38-year-old is currently a free agent and scored 29 goals at Old Trafford in a brief spell with the club previously.

ROUND-UP

- One player who may create funds for Manchester United's January business is defender Chris Smalling, but Corriere dello Sport claim the Red Devils want double the €10 million price Roma are expecting to pay for him. 

- AS are reporting Edinson Cavani is weighing up his future at Paris Saint-Germain with Atletico Madrid and Inter Miami keeping tabs on the Uruguayan.

Stefano Sensi is currently on-loan at Inter Milan from Sassuolo, but Sport claim Sensi's agent is in Barcelona as speculation of a move to the Spanish champions grows.

- The Daily Mail claims Wolves will turn to Lille defender Gabriel Magalhaes in January as they seek reinforcements to cover the injured Willy Boly.

- Chelsea are interested in signing Hertha Berlin winger Javairo Dilrosun when their transfer ban expires, according to Calciomercato.

- L'Equipe say Nantes are among several clubs showing interest in free agent forward Hatem Ben Arfa.

Wissam Ben Yedder has warned opponents that Monaco are building into their season nicely as they moved into the top half of Ligue 1 for the first time this season with a 1-0 win at Nantes.

The Tunisian striker is the league's top scorer after his ninth goal of the season proved to be the difference in the west of France on Friday night.

It was a fifth consecutive win for Monaco after a winless first six games where they conceded 14 goals, as Leonardo Jardim's men eye improvement after avoiding relegation by two points last season.

Ben Yedder's formidable partnership with Algerian striker Islam Slimani has been one of the reasons for Monaco's upturn and says there are no limits as he strives to get Monaco up the league.

"This is a deserved victory for Monaco but irresistible is a big word," he told reporters.

"I have no limit, I always try and do more and continue to score for the team and for me. I am very satisfied as it's always nice to score.

"We are working and building our game collectively to get good results.

"But the title of top scorer is not the most important thing. Monaco had a hard time last year and early in the season, but we try to come back little by little."

Goalkeeper Benjamin Lecomte said the club are still aiming to make a return to next season's Champions League.

"It's games like this that can revive us," he added.

"Psychologically this victory is very good. We will see if it launches our season, but the podium is the goal of our club."

Cardiff City have been told by the FIFA Players' Status Committee to pay Nantes €6million for the late Emiliano Sala.

The striker became Cardiff's record signing when a deal was struck with the Ligue 1 club in January.

But before he made an appearance for City, the plane carrying Sala from France to Wales crashed and he was killed, along with pilot David Ibbotson.

Cardiff claimed the agreement to pay Nantes a £15million fee was not legally binding because conditions insisted upon by Nantes were not fulfilled.

The club, who were relegated from the Premier League at the end of last season, refused to make the first scheduled payment over what chairman Mehmet Dalman identified as "anomalies" in the deal, prompting Nantes to make a complaint to FIFA.

The FIFA Players' Status Committee said on Monday the €6m Nantes should receive from Cardiff is "corresponding to the first instalment due".

A statement read: "The FIFA Players' Status Committee, which never lost sight of the specific and unique circumstances of this tragic situation during its deliberations on the dispute at stake, refrained from imposing procedural costs on the parties.

"The findings of the decision were notified to the parties concerned today."

Nantes president Waldemar Kita told L'Equipe in May he did not want to receive money for Sala.

"The truth is, I don't even want that money, and I may never get it," he said.

"I don't want to make money on someone who died tragically. I'm not interested in that."

When asked why he had therefore not brought the issue to a halt, Kita replied: "I am not involved at all in the case. The lawyers are in charge of it."

Cardiff City have been told by the FIFA Players' Status Committee to pay Nantes €6million for the late Emiliano Sala.
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