Tuchel denies Paris Saint-Germain 'crisis' talk

By Sports Desk April 16, 2019

Paris Saint-Germain head coach Thomas Tuchel has rejected suggestions that the club are in crisis but concedes that they are experiencing a "difficult phase".

The runaway Ligue 1 leaders have now missed two opportunities to wrap up the title after a 2-2 draw at home to Strasbourg on April 7 was followed by a crushing 5-1 defeat to second-place Lille on Sunday.

PSG have another chance to wrap up a second consecutive league title when they travel to Nantes on Wednesday and Tuchel is keen to play down his side's blip in form.

"We have to accept this kind of period in a season," he told a media conference. "In the middle there are a lot of positives but there are also complicated, hard weeks.

"It's not a crisis but a difficult phase. I will take the same crisis next season if it comes with a 17-point lead! We have to stay calm and together.

"It is our goal to be champions very quickly. We had the opportunity to become champions against Strasbourg and Lille, but we couldn't seize it. There are always obstacles to overcome."

PSG will be without the injured Thomas Meunier, Edinson Cavani, Neymar, Marquinhos, Thiago Silva and Angel Di Maria for the visit to 15th-place Nantes, while Juan Bernat and Marco Verratti are suspended.

Tuchel denied that he has any issues with the way players' injuries are being handled by the club's medical staff but did say the workload was becoming difficult for those who can play.

After listing the players that will be missing, Tuchel said: "That is not our squad for the quarter-finals for the Champions League, they are our wounded.

"I am not angry. We work hard together. The doctors, physiotherapists and staff are all together. We have to think about each injury individually. I have confidence in them.

"There are not enough players, that's the reality. If a lot of people are missing the ones remaining have more responsibilities. It's demanding. They're physically and mentally tired. They do not stop."

Brazil superstar Neymar is working his way back from a foot injury sustained in PSG's Coupe de France clash against Strasbourg on January 23, but no timescale has been put on when the world's most expensive footballer will return to full fitness.

Tuchel has confirmed that he is not suffering any lasting pain from the injury and is aiming to return soon.

"Neymar has no pain," he added. "He is very confident and wants to come back as soon as possible."

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  • Neymar leaving PSG not possible without replacement, says Tuchel Neymar leaving PSG not possible without replacement, says Tuchel

    Thomas Tuchel admitted Paris Saint-Germain missed Neymar in their shock defeat to Rennes and ruled out an exit for the Brazil star unless an adequate replacement is brought in.

    Neymar's prolonged absence from the PSG squad continued on Sunday as the Ligue 1 champions fell to a 2-1 loss at Rennes in their first away outing of the new campaign.

    The 27-year-old Neymar has been recovering from an ankle injury that has ruled him out of action since early June, while questions remain over his future amid strong links with Real Madrid and former club Barcelona.

    After seeing his side struggle for creativity at Roazhon Park, however, head coach Tuchel stood firm on his stance that PSG must keep hold of the player.

    "He will not leave without recruitment, it is not possible," Tuchel said at his post-match news conference. "It's clear - if he stays, we will have a player who will help us win. 

    "We lacked capacity for acceleration. There were small situations where space opened but we were not decisive."

    Tuchel told Canal +: "I always say the same thing, the transfer window is open even more than 10 days and you think it will be settled tomorrow or the day after tomorrow?

    "What I think is not important. Today my player cannot play because he has not done any training like the others. This is the situation, and nothing has changed."

    Edinson Cavani was gifted a 36th-minute goal by Rennes following an error from Damien Da Silva, but PSG managed just one further shot on target and were made to pay by the side that also beat them in April's Coupe de France final.

    Goals either side of half-time from M'Baye Niang and Romain Del Castillo handed Rennes all three points, but Tuchel downplayed the magnitude of the defeat so early in the season.

    "It was a difficult match, but we expected it," he said. "We do not have everyone available. Some players only participated in two weeks of training. 

    "These situations are normal in August. We are not at our best. Against a physical team like Rennes, who gives everything, whose players run like crazy, in a match in prime time, it's normal that it was complicated for us. 

    "We scored the first goal, we controlled the match and made mistakes. We had to close the match after the first goal. We were not able to do it. 

    "We conceded a goal with a two against one in the area. We got very close to the Rennes area, but we lacked tenacity to win against some offensive. 

    "In these conditions, it was difficult to create opportunities. We can lose a match like that, but we could win it too."

    Despite a run of five away defeats in six league matches stretching into last season, Tuchel insisted he does not fear the sack and called for some patience.

    "I'm a very happy man," he said. "There is no one who is putting more pressure on myself than me. It's the same for every coach."

    "We can play better than today. Things are not easy - everyone has improved in Ligue 1 and the Champions League. It's time to be patient and to keep your confidence. We cannot question everything after a bad result."

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