Thomas Tuchel's new contract does not hide the fact his maiden Paris Saint-Germain campaign went worryingly flat after a promising start.

A 3-1 defeat at Reims on Friday capped off a disappointing end to the season, with PSG winning just four of their last 10 fixtures.

They had the title secured on April 22, with a blistering start to the term having seen them win a record 14 Ligue 1 games in a row from the start of a campaign.

A shock Coupe de la Ligue defeat to Guingamp ended PSG's hopes of domestic dominance, though, before they slumped out of the Champions League in the round of 16, losing to Manchester United on home soil.

And, having extended his stay at the Parc des Princes until 2021, Tuchel now has plenty to work on heading into his second season.

 

ADD DEPTH TO AN IMBALANCED SQUAD

PSG have plenty of attacking talents but when it comes to other areas of the pitch they are not so well stocked.

Tuchel wanted Everton's holding midfielder Idrissa Gueye in January, though the Premier League club refused to sell. Leandro Paredes did come in but has at times looked out of step with his team-mates and made a calamitous error to gift Montpellier a victory in April. Dani Alves has far too often been called upon to fill in centrally.

With Adrien Rabiot - who has refused the offer of a new contract - oh his way out and Marco Verratti not unaccustomed to injury, though he has made 26 Ligue 1 appearances this term, midfield is certainly an area that needs addressing. In defence, Tuchel has publicly suggested he can only rely on Marquinhos and 34-year-old Thiago Silva to keep things steady at the back.

KEEP NEYMAR FIT AND HAPPY

PSG paid a world-record fee for Neymar in order to propel themselves to Champions League glory. So far, it has not worked.

In both of his seasons at the club, Neymar, who is off track in his Ballon d'Or aims, has sustained injuries that have seen him miss either all or part of PSG's last-16 ties with Real Madrid and Manchester United respectively, and as such it is no surprise that they have failed to progress past this stage.

Their play is rightly directed through the Brazil superstar, but perhaps Tuchel must now look at having a viable alternative so, if needed, he can protect his star man in certain games to ensure he is in good shape for the big occasions and, along with PSG's other key players, able to play across an entire season, while also ensuring that Neymar remains at Parc des Princes amid rumours of interest from Madrid.

KYLIAN IS THE KEY

Another PSG star reportedly interesting Los Blancos is Kylian Mbappe, the World-Cup winning striker who scored 33 league goals this season. At 20, the former Monaco forward undoubtedly has the world at his feet, though hinted recently that he may have to take up a new challenge away from PSG.

The club swiftly insisted there is no chance of a sale and Tuchel should look to build his team around the youngster. His disciplinary issues - a red card in the Coupe de France final saw Mbappe suspended for three matches and was his second such offence of the season - need tempering but he should remain a focal point.

HELP KIMPEMBE RETURN TO FORM

Tuchel was not renowned for his defensive resilience while head coach at Borussia Dortmund but inherited one of the most promising defenders in European football when he took over at PSG in the form of Presnel Kimpembe.

The 23-year-old featured once for France at the 2018 World Cup but has struggled to kick on this campaign, and his season finished with him undergoing surgery to fix a groin problem.

Tuchel has suggested that Kimpembe has played too many games - he made 36 appearances across all competitions - but his suggestion that he could only rely on Marquinhos and Silva was not exactly an endorsement of Kimpembe, who seems to have hit a wall.

SETTLE ON A GOALKEEPER

Tuchel has switched far too much between Alphonse Areola and Gianluigi Buffon, with 21 and 17 appearances each in the league.

At 41, it is probably time Buffon acted only as back up - if he is to remain at the club - with his poor performance against Reims on Friday suggesting his best days are behind him.

Areola, who along with Kimpembe was allegedly accused by Neymar of disrespecting the head coach, is also prone to an error, while Kevin Trapp is due to return from his loan at Eintracht Frankfurt. Tuchel has to decide which of the three is to be his first choice, or whether he needs to dip into the transfer market for another number one.

Paris Saint-Germain have confirmed Presnel Kimpembe has undergone surgery on his groin that will end his season.

The Ligue 1 champions bring their campaign to a close on Friday with a trip to Reims but will be without the 23-year-old centre-back.

"Presnel Kimpembe underwent a procedure on his groin on Thursday morning at the Sports Clinic in Paris," a club statement read.

"Led by Dr. Gilles Reboul, the intervention was conducted without problems. His rehabilitation will begin in the next few days."

Kimpembe, a World Cup winner last year, has also been left out of Didier Deschamps' France squad for the upcoming matches against Bolivia, Turkey and Andorra as he looks to recover from his injury problems.

Paris Saint-Germain have denied reports Neymar has fallen out with his team-mates at the Parc des Princes.

Le Parisien claimed that the world's most expensive footballer was involved in an altercation with Julian Draxler, while he also took issue with struggling defender Presnel Kimpembe.

Neymar criticised PSG's younger players following their Coupe de France final penalty shoot-out defeat to Rennes and it was said his critique was aimed at Kimpembe for his response to a team talk from Thomas Tuchel days earlier.

Alphonse Areola was also referenced in the report regarding Neymar's complaint that young players did not listen enough.

But PSG responded on Wednesday, suggesting Neymar was wrongly being painted in a bad light amid talk of such clashes.

"This is a funny game from Le Parisien: presenting Neymar, a phenomenon of world football, as a player who fights with his team-mates in the dressing room," the club posted on Twitter.

"How can you invent such things? Were you in the dressing room?"

PSG have won just one of their past seven matches in all competitions, with regular captain Thiago Silva absent in recent weeks.

Coach Tuchel revealed following the Coupe final reverse that Neymar was upset, that he "hates losing" and is "sensitive" to comments made about him.

The French Football Federation (FFF) opened proceedings against the forward after he appeared to punch a fan in a scuffle on the way to collect his runners-up medal.

Thomas Tuchel again referred to Paris Saint-Germain's lack of depth as the root cause of a 3-2 defeat away at Montpellier. 

PSG were outplayed for long periods in Tuesday's Ligue 1 clash and were fortunate to be in front through Angel di Maria before late strikes from Andy Delort and Souleymane Camara gave Montpellier a deserved win. 

The Ligue 1 champions were architects of their own downfall as Presnel Kimpembe put through his own net in the first half and a Leandro Paredes error let to Camara's late winner. 

But, as has been the case so often this season, Tuchel pointed to the limitations of his group and the strain on his players in order to explain these mistakes. 

"There were too many individual mistakes," he told a news conference. "It is not possible to make simple mistakes [and win]. We made three. 

"But the situation is still the same. We only have 15 players, including two who are at the training centre. This is how it has been since January. 

"It's too much. We have players who are being used too much. That's the situation. At our level, that's not good enough. There is not enough competition." 

Kimpembe has been poor of late and endured a tough outing besides his own goal, but Tuchel would have liked the opportunity to rest the centre-back. 

"I feel sorry for Presnel," the coach added. "He has always been playing in recent weeks, but yes, this was a complicated match for him. 

"If players are in a comfort zone, it is because there is not enough competition. 

"Colin Dagba has shown exceptional state of mind, I must say. He has played every three days. For others, this is normal." 

PSG have now won just one of their past six games in all competitions, losing the Coupe de France final on penalties to Rennes, to put a dampener on another Ligue 1 title success. 

Paris Saint-Germain failed to bounce back from their Coupe de France final disappointment as they slipped to a 3-2 Ligue 1 defeat to Montpellier on Tuesday.

Thomas Tuchel's side threw away a two-goal lead to ultimately lose on penalties to Rennes on Saturday and never looked like returning to winning ways in a display characterised by woeful defending and scant attacking threat.

Ambroise Oyongo's own goal put them ahead after 12 minutes but Presnel Kimpembe – who endured a torrid game – put through his own net at the other end in the 21st minute to draw the hosts level.

Angel Di Maria had looked like securing just a second win in six games across all competitions for the Ligue 1 champions but, after missing a number of golden opportunities, Andy Delort showed superb composure in the 80th minute to draw Montpellier level.

Substitute Souleymane Camara then took advantage of a Leandro Paredes error fire past Gianluigi Buffon five minutes from time to secure a famous win.

 

 

Kylian Mbappe scored for the seventh consecutive Ligue 1 game as a below-par Paris Saint-Germain beat Toulouse 1-0 at Stadium Municipal and extended their winning streak to eight league matches.

The World Cup winner controlled Thilo Kehrer's cross before firing home in the 74th minute of a game that offered few memorable moments and underlined the importance of the injured Neymar and Edinson Cavani to Thomas Tuchel's side.

PSG striker Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting will struggle to shake the image of his first-half effort soaring over the top of an open net from his mind after he endured a difficult evening.

But Mbappe's strike ensured the champions restored their 20-point lead at the top of the table, although Tuchel will have been disappointed with the flat nature of his side's performance.

Choupo-Moting missed an absolute sitter after 17 minutes, spooning the rebound from Mbappe's saved shot over the crossbar from point-blank range with an empty net to aim at.

A blunder by Toulouse goalkeeper Baptiste Reynet allowed Marquinhos to bundle the ball over the line but a VAR consultation saw the goal ruled out, with the Brazilian defender judged to be offside when Presnel Kimpembe headed the ball through Reynet's hands.

At the other end, Alphonse Areola showed superb reactions to get an arm to Christopher Jullien's close-range header and keep the scoreline level at half-time.

Areola made another excellent save to keep out Yaya Sanogo's low shot after some intricate approach play by the lively Max Gradel, and at the other end Colin Dagba's volleyed cross narrowly evaded the on-rushing Mbappe as PSG probed for a winner.

The goal arrived when Kehrer picked out Mbappe with a cross that the 20-year-old deftly touched down before rattling the ball into the bottom-right corner of the net to clinch the victory.

What does it mean? Toulouse back in trouble

A point against the league leaders would have moved Toulouse one step closer to safety from relegation but defeat leaves them still nine points above the drop zone with eight games left to play.

Tireless Gradel shines

Toulouse captain Gradel led by example, driving his side forward time and again with plenty of success to instill them with the belief they could compete with the country's best team.

Choupo-Moting comes up short

A simple tap-in should have ensured Choupo-Moting broke the deadlock when presented with an open goal in the first half, but his ballooned effort only drew attention to Cavani and Neymar's absence.

What's next?

PSG must prepare for Wednesday's Coupe de France semi-final against Nantes, who then travel to Toulouse on Sunday.

Former UEFA chief Michel Platini has slammed VAR as "against the spirit of football" in reaction to Paris Saint-Germain's contentious Champions League last-16 exit to Manchester United.

The Red Devils remarkably triumphed 3-1 at Parc des Princes on Wednesday, becoming the first team to progress in a Champions League knockout-round match having lost a home first leg by two or more goals.

But the result was not without controversy as referee Damir Skomina opted to award a penalty for handball against Presnel Kimpembe following a consultation with VAR and Marcus Rashford lashed in the last-gasp spot-kick.

It was a decision that has split opinion, with many pundits feeling Kimpembe was hard done by due to the close proximity and speed of Diogo Dalot's shot.

And Platini believes the game is heading down a dangerous path over the handball rule.

"During my years at the International Board, I have always tried to defend the game and protect the players," he told Le Journal du Dimanche. 

"What happened on Wednesday just confirmed my words. In this case, the Paris player [Kimpembe] turns around and the ball hits his arm. It's involuntary. 

"The referee did what he had to do by whistling a corner, and then people told him he needed to take a closer look. 

"However, decreeing that any contact of the hand must be penalised with a penalty is to go against the spirit of football, against the game. 

"And this may lead to situations where, rather than to adjust their centre or their shot, the players will first aim at the defender's hand."

Platini, though, believes the problem lays with officials monitoring the footage not the on-field referees.

"I blame those who direct them [referees]," he added.

"When we call the video, the four guys in their truck are more concerned to see if there was hand rather than fault. Ditto when a player touches an opponent in the box: it says, 'There is contact, so penalty'. No, touch does not necessarily mean fault. 

"Since the beginning, I am against the VAR because, when I was a player, I realised that the televisions did not always tell the truth of the ground."

Presnel Kimpembe is adamant Paris Saint-Germain are not harbouring psychological scars in the Champions League and that the last-16 capitulation against Manchester United was a case of taking their opponents too lightly.

The Ligue 1 champions made unwanted history on Wednesday as they became the first team to fall in a Champions League knockout-round match after winning an away first leg by two or more goals.

Kimpembe was at the heart of the dramatic 3-1 defeat, which saw PSG exit 3-3 via the away-goals rule, when a contentious VAR decision saw the centre-back pinged for the handball from which Marcus Rashford smashed in the crucial last-gasp penalty.

It was the latest demoralising defeat for big-spending PSG and came just two years after a 4-0 first-leg win over Barcelona was overturned by a stunning 6-1 reverse at Camp Nou.

Many have questioned PSG's mental fortitude in the Champions League as a result, but Kimpembe says the team were guilty of thinking the job was done at Old Trafford – a mindset he vowed they would never repeat.

Speaking on Youtube's Bros. Stories, Kimpembe said: "It hurts me, very bad even, I feel what the fans feel, I can see their anger, I realise it, I understand it and, most importantly, I assume it, so that I can swallow it. 

"It's a game that inevitably stays in the heads but that we will have to forget for the rest of the season. 

"We lost that determination and that rage we had in the first leg. It's not the fact of having lived through past experiences that made us feel stressed or whatever it was. 

"No, it was really a self-satisfaction, we took this game lightly, and it's something that will never happen to me again. It's enough, never again.

"Of course, we will lose more games in the Champions League but losing games like this is over, I don't want it to happen to us anymore

"We'll have to raise our heads so we can move on. It's going to be complicated, but there's still the Ligue 1 [title], the Coupe de France, which is important to us too. 

"Even if all the world thinks winning these trophies is easy, it's never easy."

UEFA has defended the decision to award Manchester United a late penalty in their Champions League victory over Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday.

A 3-1 win at Parc des Princes sent United into the quarter-finals on away goals following a 3-3 aggregate draw.

The crucial goal came from the penalty spot in second-half injury time, with Marcus Rashford firing home after Presnel Kimpembe had been penalised for handball following a lengthy VAR review.

The decision was slammed by injured PSG star Neymar, who was watching from the stands, and has been much debated in the days since, with some arguing Kimpembe could do little to prevent blocking Diogo Dalot's shot with his arm.

UEFA has now explained the process that led to referee Damir Skomina awarding the spot-kick.

"The VAR, after checking various different angles available to him, recommended to the referee an on-field review following the penalty area incident," European football's governing body said.

"Given that the referee did not recognise the incident clearly during live play (referred to as serious missed incident in the VAR protocol) an on-field review was conducted.

"Following the on-field review, the referee confirmed that the distance that the ball travelled was not short and the impact could therefore not be unexpected. The defender’s arm was not close to the body, which made the defender’s body bigger, thus resulting in the ball being stopped from travelling in the direction of the goal. The referee, therefore, awarded a penalty kick."

It was one of four key decisions in last-16 second-leg matches this week, with a questionable call occurring in the build-up to an Ajax goal against Real Madrid and two penalty claims in Porto's defeat of Roma.

At the Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid were left furious that Dusan Tadic's third goal in a 4-1 win for Ajax was allowed to stand after Noussair Mazraoui had attempted to stop the ball going out of play in the build-up.

"There was no conclusive evidence that the ball would have been entirely out of play from all video angles and images that were carefully analysed by the VAR," UEFA said.

"The assistant referee, who was perfectly positioned, had adjudged that the whole ball had not fully crossed the touchline. No on-field review was therefore required. Consequently, the referee was right not to intervene and to allow the goal."

In Portugal, Fernando was awarded a penalty from which Alex Telles scored the decisive goal in extra time to send Porto into the last eight at Roma's expense.

VAR was used for that decision, but referee Cuneyt Cakir did not check the pitch-side monitor five minutes later, when Patrik Schick felt he had been tripped in the Porto box.

"The VAR, after checking the offside line - which confirmed the attacker to be onside - asked the referee if he had seen the holding offence committed by the AS Roma defender," UEFA's explanation about the first incident read.

"The referee confirmed he was unaware of any holding during live play and he asked for the images to be prepared to allow him to conduct an on-field review (serious missed incident). The review convinced the referee that a penalty kick should be awarded for a holding offence."

It added on the Schick claims: "The referee was close to the action and had himself seen the potential incident in live play and judged that there was no foul.

"The referee nevertheless decided to delay the restart of play, to give more time to the VAR to review the different camera angles available. A VAR check was conducted, and the various images were studied carefully by the VAR, who did not find any clear evidence.

"The referee was then informed by the VAR that following the check no clear and obvious error had occurred and that there was no ground for a VAR intervention and an on-field review."

Thomas Tuchel offered no update on the condition of Neymar or Edinson Cavani ahead of Paris Saint-Germain's clash with Saint-Etienne but confirmed Thomas Meunier and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting would miss the game amid mounting injury problems.

Right-back Meunier missed PSG's 2-0 victory over Manchester United in the Champions League following a head injury he sustained against Bordeaux three days earlier, and Tuchel said Cameroon international Choupo-Moting has been taken ill.

With Cavani sidelined by a hip injury and Neymar recovering from a damaged metatarsal, Tuchel said he is keeping a close eye on Marco Verratti and Presnel Kimpembe, who have both been dogged by injuries in recent weeks.

"Thomas Meunier will not be available tomorrow, nor Choupo-Moting because of illness," Tuchel told reporters.

"The other players will be present but we need to be attentive to the old injuries of Verratti and Kimpembe.

"There is no news for Cavani and Neymar."

Tuchel was in upbeat mood despite the fitness concerns, and he picked out Kimpembe for praise along with Brazilian midfielder Marquinhos who deputised in midfield at Old Trafford.

Full-backs Thilo Kehrer and Juan Bernat were also credited for their part in extending the champions winning run to three consecutive matches in all competitions.

"Thilo Kehrer and Juan Bernat are doing a great job," said Tuchel. "They deserve to play.

"Presnel Kimpembe has everything to become one of the best defenders in Europe.

"Marquinhos is very good in the middle, as in defence. He is an incredible player who must and always wants to improve.

"I am happy that we are able to play as a team. Whether in the Champions League or Ligue 1."

Paris Saint-Germain made their Champions League win over Manchester United "seem easy", according to goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon. 

PSG outclassed United 2-0 in the opening leg of their last-16 showdown at Old Trafford in Manchester on Tuesday.

After a scoreless first half, Presnel Kimpembe and Kylian Mbappe scored within seven minutes to put PSG in the box seat in pursuit of the quarter-finals.

It was United's first defeat under caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and their heaviest home loss in Europe.

"We made it seem easy by putting everything we had into those 90 minutes, the unity that is fundamental in this competition," Buffon told Sky Sport Italia.

"We took some risks, but they allowed us to breathe when under pressure and break their attempt at pressing.

"In such a balanced tie, that is worth so much."

Buffon was named in PSG's starting XI and the 41-year-old became only the third keeper after Edwin van der Sar and Iker Casillas to reach 50 Champions League clean sheets.

The Italian veteran arrived from Juventus in the off-season, with the option of an extra year in the French capital.

"The contract is not a thought in my mind, to be honest," Buffon said. "I just want to keep enjoying my football, being useful to the club and my team-mates, whether on the field or if needed off it.

"It has never been a problem for me to deal with a contract when I was 30 years old, let alone 41."

France defender Kimpembe opened the scoring for PSG with a volley from Angel Di Maria's corner before Mbappe completed a swift counter-attacking move to put the Ligue 1 champions in a strong position ahead of the March 6 return fixture.

"I have no words. To tell the truth, I don't realise it yet," Kimpembe said after scoring in front of the travelling PSG fans. "I'm like in a dream and I'm going to be able to enjoy it tonight and enjoy it."

Presnel Kimpembe will miss Paris Saint-Germain's Classique clash with Marseille on October 28 after he was handed a three-match ban following his red card against Lyon.

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