Thomas Tuchel and Paris Saint-Germain might have ended the season with a dismal run of form, but their 2018-19 Ligue 1 campaign was still mightily impressive.

The capital club wrapped up the title more than a month before Friday's last fixture at Reims, finishing 16 points clear of second-placed Lille.

And given PSG's failings in the Champions League and both domestic cup competitions, it appears it was their Ligue 1 displays that convinced the club to extend Tuchel's contract until June 2021 on Saturday.

Using Opta data, it is clear to see why the board would be impressed, too, even allowing for the late-season run of three wins in 10 matches across all competitions.

Tuchel won 76.3 per cent of his league matches this term, recording 2.39 points per game - the best returns of any first-year coach in the Qatar Sports Investments era.

The class of 2018-19 also recorded 2.76 goals per game and became the first Ligue 1 team to score in every match of a 38-round season.

More will be expected of Tuchel in years two and three, but he has put together a first campaign that outperforms predecessors Carlo Ancelotti, Laurent Blanc and Unai Emery.

 

CARLO ANCELOTTI

Ancelotti was the Qatari owners' maiden appointment midway through the 2011-12 season but fell short in a bid for the club's first title in 18 years. Top when the Italian took over, PSG subsequently won 57.9 per cent of their matches and earned 2.05 points per game, finishing three points behind champions Montpellier.

But Ancelotti started to turn PSG into the club they are today in 2012-13. They claimed the Ligue 1 title and reached the Champions League quarter-finals.

 

LAURENT BLANC

Blanc has not had a job since leaving PSG, yet he established the club as a truly dominant force during three years in charge that returned three league titles, two Coupe de France triumphs and three in the Coupe de la Ligue.

The standards were high in his first season - winning 71.1 per cent of league matches, earning 2.34 points per game and scoring 2.21 goals per game - but he did not reach Tuchel's levels.

UNAI EMERY

It might have been plain sailing for Blanc when he arrived at the Parc des Princes, but Emery's first year provided a reminder of the difficulties of this job and the expectations that come with it.

PSG came second to a brilliant Monaco outfit in 2016-17, even though Emery actually matched Blanc's win percentage. Their 2.29 points per game - more than Ancelotti's PSG averaged over his whole tenure - were not enough to defend the title.

Frustrations might have boiled over in recent weeks, but Tuchel's early Ligue 1 success should not be taken for granted.

Thomas Tuchel has stated that Paris Saint-Germain will have to pull together in one direction to improve heading into his second season at the club.

Tuchel signed a new deal with the Ligue 1 champions on Saturday, keeping him at Parc des Princes until 2021.

The former Borussia Dortmund coach enjoyed a wonderful start to his tenure, with PSG winning their first 14 Ligue 1 games of the campaign, but the season has come to an underwhelming end.

PSG won just four of their last 10 Ligue 1 matches, while they exited the Coupe de la Ligue at the quarter-final stage and Champions League at the last 16, while also losing to Rennes on penalties in the Coupe de France final.

And Tuchel has made it clear that his side have to step up their performances next season if they are to continue their domestic dominance and challenge in Europe's elite club competition.

"We have to improve, it's clear. We have to play with even more intensity during the matches," Tuchel told PSG's official website.

"To be competitive at the highest level, it is essential. We will have to go in one direction, show it to the players, to the fans. 

"We created something, but it's not over. So we have to keep going, keep working and improve our game. Some matches have been won, but not the way you want, not the game you want to play. 

"To give everything must become a habit. But I could not change that alone. It will be necessary to be very strict towards our principles of game. It is important. We will all have to go in the same direction."

Despite a disappointing conclusion to the season, PSG did have the Ligue 1 title secured by April 21, and Tuchel insists the triumph must be used as a platform for success moving forward.

"This is the most important title. It means that you did things well during the season," Tuchel added.

"We are here to achieve performances, to create a thirst for victories, to be constant. This title is deserved. This title is part of the goals of PSG each season. 

"It is a big challenge that requires great effort. On a personal level, I had already won the German Cup, and I am very happy because this is my first league title. I will never forget it."

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 coach Thomas Tuchel has extended his contract until June 2021 despite an underwhelming end to his first season with the Ligue 1 champions.

Tuchel arrived at Parc des Princes last year and guided PSG to a comfortable league title defence, but results were less impressive in the cup competitions.

PSG were knocked out of the Champions League by Manchester United in the last 16, while Guingamp inflicted an early Coupe de la Ligue exit and they were then beaten in the Coupe de France final by Rennes on penalties.

The shoot-out defeat to Rennes came in a run of just three wins in 10 matches in all competitions at the end of the season, concluding with Friday's 3-1 league defeat at Reims.

However, Tuchel insisted after the match that he was confident of remaining in Paris and news of a new deal – with a year-long extension – was confirmed on Saturday.

A club statement said Tuchel "won over the players, staff and the club with his natural warmth, as well as his modern vision of football".

Tuchel, whose coaching staff have also been rewarded with season-long extensions, said: "I'm delighted to extend my contract and commitment to Paris Saint-Germain, putting pen to paper on the new deal.

"I'd like to thank the chairman and the whole club for their trust in me and my staff. This only reinforces my ambition to bring this team to the very top through hard work.

"I'm also very touched by the backing of our supporters and I'm sure that the best is yet to come for our club."

PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi added: "Today, the whole Paris Saint-Germain family is delighted to see Thomas Tuchel extend his contract.

"For a year now, Thomas has been bringing fantastic energy to the daily life of the club, not only for the players, but for the whole of Paris Saint-Germain.

"Our supporters immediately took to this coach who is always keen to share his analysis and emotions with as many people as possible. Thomas is a huge football fan and a very demanding coach who also listens to others.

"Thomas has expertise in the game as well as great managerial skills and we are delighted to be able to rely on his qualities on a long-term basis."

Tuchel's new deal should offer PSG some stability ahead of a potentially eventful close-season, with moves in and out of the club mooted.

He is said to be desperate for a larger squad in order to compete on multiple fronts, but possible outgoing transfers have stolen the headlines in recent weeks.

Rumours persist over record signing Neymar's future, while Kylian Mbappe last week hinted that he might be looking for a "new project".

Kylian Mbappe's unexpected comments about potentially leaving Paris Saint-Germain have not been explained to his team-mates, according to a confused Marquinhos.

France forward Mbappe caught many off guard last week when he hinted at the possibility of pursuing "a new project" amid rumours of interest from Real Madrid.

Head coach Thomas Tuchel insisted he was not alarmed by the statement despite conceding there are no guarantees over the former Monaco star's future or that of Neymar.

Mbappe started and scored in PSG's final outing for the campaign, a 3-1 defeat to Reims on Friday, but Marquinhos admitted to being unsure of the attacker's intentions for the off-season.

"I didn't really understand the message he wanted to get across," the Brazil international told reporters.

"I think he talked about it with the [club's] leaders and maybe the coach. He didn't say anything about it to us.

"You have to ask him about the meaning of his sentence.

"We have important players; he's one of the most important. He's still young, but he's strong in the mind and responsible for what he says and what he does on the field."

Marquinhos, PSG's captain in the absence of Thiago Silva, added: "The club matters first and foremost. It's more important than all of the players. Whether we stay or go, the club will still be here."

Tuchel's men finished 16 points clear at the top of Ligue 1 but again failed to make a credible impact in the Champions League in 2018-19, dramatically losing out to Manchester United in the last 16 on away goals.

A run of just three wins in their last nine league games of the season, coupled with a penalty shoot-out loss to Rennes in the Coupe de France final, has increased the pressure on Tuchel's shoulders.

Dani Alves said he would be willing to bet the Eiffel Tower that Paris Saint-Germain team-mate Neymar is still in the French capital next season.

Neymar criticised PSG's younger players following a Coupe de France final loss to Rennes last month and the world's most expensive player continues to be linked with a move back to Spain.

While a return to Barcelona has been suggested, Real Madrid are also considered possible suitors as they look to rebuild after a disappointing campaign.

Kylian Mbappe's comments about wanting "more responsibilities" also cast doubt over Neymar's long-term future in Paris, yet Alves is ready to wager the city's most recognisable landmark that his fellow Brazilian will be staying put.

Asked whether he would be willing to bet a dinner that Neymar would stay, Alves told ESPN: "A dinner is not enough. Should I bet the Eiffel Tower?

"I believe that he will stay with PSG.

"If Madrid calls me, I'd say no. And if it calls me to ask about Neymar, I'd say no as well."

Alves, himself a former Barcelona star, thinks a return to Camp Nou is also unlikely for Neymar.

"I think it's very difficult," he added. "People inside Barca, I think, won't be willing to acknowledge that they need him.

"And that's a problem, you can't go anywhere guided by your ego. You can't let your ego dictate your life.

"Barca has that problem and they won't recognise that they need him and that already drives him away from Barca.

"Which side doesn't need Ney? Everyone needs Ney."

PSG retained the Ligue 1 title this season but failed to win either the Coupe de France or Coupe de la Ligue, while they exited the Champions League at the last-16 stage.

Alves believes it is only natural that such disappointment has left Neymar displeased.

"He is not happy since he didn't get the results he wanted and that brings him unhappiness," he added.

"I would beat the c**p out of him if he feels happy without winning."

Neymar and Kylian Mbappe's futures at Paris Saint-Germain are far from certain, with Thomas Tuchel promising to "find solutions" in the event of the duo's departure.

While Neymar has been linked with a move back to LaLiga since heading to the French capital from Barcelona two years ago, Mbappe hinted at Ligue 1's end-of-season awards that he could be tempted by "a new project".

PSG coach Tuchel feels the nature of the modern game makes it difficult to guarantee the pair will remain with the Ligue 1 champions, but he is confident the club would find a way forward without them. 

"This is football," Tuchel said at a media conference when asked about the transfer speculation over his two prized assets. 

"Many clubs want to transfer many players. But if you ask me, the manager, yes I want them here next season. But if not, we will find solutions."

Tuchel also played down the significance of Mbappe's comments, saying they were normal for a player of his stature.

"He doesn't need to give a speech to say that," said the German. "He's a special guy, and just wants to score, score and score again, to have all of the trophies possible.

"The guys are special, we have to accept that. I'm not annoyed.

"I'm not going to lose my head about that speech. I talk to Kylian every day, he knows what I want; we have a trusting relationship between us."

 

 #CHAMPI8NS

In the latest episode of the L'instant Laure with Orange, join @le12emehomme and @laureboulleau as they go behind the scenes of Saturday's title celebrations! pic.twitter.com/vZc2AfpmDN

— Paris Saint-Germain (@PSG_English) May 20, 2019

Mbappe can join Barcelona's Lionel Messi at the summit of the European Golden Shoe rankings with four goals against Reims on Friday, but Tuchel acknowledged that is a tall order.

"It's very difficult to score four goals in one match. We lack respect for our opponents in saying that. It's an objective for Kylian," he said.

"To go for four goals is a bit much I think. I have to speak to my team about this goal. He has great targets and he is very confident."

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.

Nasser Al-Khelaifi's lawyer has denied an allegation of corruption against his client relating to the hosting rights for the World Athletics Championships.

According to reports in France, the Paris Saint-Germain president is accused of validating an illicit payment of €3.1million to help Doha's bid to stage the finals in 2017.

However, his lawyer, Francis Szpiner, has described the allegations as "totally inaccurate".

"Nasser Al-Khelaifi's name does not appear on any of the documents in the file," Szpiner told Le Parisien in reference to a case compiled by investigating judge Renaud Van Ruymbeke in Paris.

"It should be noted that Nasser Al-Khelaifi's initial hearing was only the result of a regrettable confusion by the investigating magistrate," Szpiner added, with Al-Khelaifi having voluntarily appeared before a judicial inquiry investigating the case in March.

"Nasser Al-Khelaifi has never been operationally involved in Doha's bid for the World Athletics Championships."

Qatar was unsuccessful in bids for the 2017 event and the 2020 Olympics but won the right to host the 2019 World Athletics Championships, which are due to take place between September 28 and October 6.

Didier Deschamps says his future remains with France amid speculation he is wanted as the next Juventus head coach.

The Serie A champions have begun searching for a replacement for Massimiliano Allegri, after it was announced he will leave at the end of the season.

Deschamps, who led France to World Cup glory in Russia last year, is reportedly among the contenders for the role.

But at a news conference on Tuesday, the 50-year-old dismissed speculation he could return to Juve, where he was in charge for the 2006-07 season.

"It's a kind question... What am I going to say?" Deschamps told reporters.

"The situation is clear today: my mind, my energy is focused on qualifying for the Euros, and I hope France will play in that Euros.

"It's very clear, even if it's always nice to hear that big clubs are talking about me, and Juventus are among them.

"But my near future is the French team. There are no doors to open - it's crystal clear."

Kylian Mbappe's future has also been making headlines after the France striker hinted he was considering leaving Paris-Saint Germain.

Mbappe was reportedly a target for Real Madrid a year ago and the 20-year-old is again being linked with the LaLiga giants after suggesting he was keen on a "new project".

"Surprised… In today's world, nothing surprises me," Deschamps said when asked about Mbappe's comments. "Information is leaking all the time.

"I'm not used to commenting on what players are saying, whether they are in my team or not. I'll have a chance to talk to Kylian, as happened during our previous gatherings and like I do with other players.

"It is what it is: one day it's him, one day it's someone else. Of course, when it's Kylian, it becomes bigger and more important."

Former Paris Saint-Germain head coach Unai Emery said Kylian Mbappe wanted to join Real Madrid before the French giants eventually persuaded the forward to stay.

Mbappe has been heavily linked with LaLiga side Madrid after the PSG star fuelled speculation over his future by hinting it could be time for a "new project".

Ligue 1 champions PSG dismissed Mbappe's comments, insisting the 20-year-old World Cup-winning sensation will remain in Paris.

However, Arsenal boss Emery revealed the desire Mbappe had to sign for Madrid during his time at PSG, which came to an end following the 2017-18 season.

"At some point, everyone pushed at PSG," Emery told Cadena SER. "I even talked to him and his father to stay.

"He wanted to choose Real Madrid, he also had a chance at Barcelona, but he wanted Madrid eyes closed.

"Among everybody we convinced him about the project in France and made him stay. We had to set money over the table, and that's what we did."

Mbappe joined PSG in a loan move from Monaco, which became permanent for a €180million fee, in August 2017.

Since then Mbappe has scored 59 goals in all competitions, netting 32 so far in Ligue 1 this season.

Emery, meanwhile, won seven titles – including the 2018 Ligue 1 trophy – in two years at PSG before he was replaced by Thomas Tuchel.

Kylian Mbappe will remain at Paris Saint-Germain next season, the Ligue 1 champions have insisted after the forward's recent comments fuelled speculation over his future at the club.

Speaking after being named Ligue 1's Best Player and Best Young Player of the Year on Sunday, Mbappe said: "It is maybe the moment to have more responsibilities, maybe at PSG, with pleasure, or elsewhere for a new project. In any case, thanks everyone."

The World Cup-winning star has been linked with a switch to Real Madrid, but PSG moved to quash those rumours in a statement released on Twitter.

"Strong links united PSG and Kylian Mbappe for two years. And our story will continue next season," the statement read.

"We have the same ambition, we want to make history in European football, especially on the 50th birthday of PSG. It will be a great moment to write a new part of our club's history together.

"Everyone will take part in it and it will always be for the good of the group."

Mbappe joined PSG in a loan move from Monaco, which became permanent for a €180million, in August 2017.

Since then he has scored 59 goals in all competitions, netting 32 so far in Ligue 1 this season.

His goals have been unable to help them deliver Champions League glory, however, with PSG suffering a humiliating turnaround at the hands of Manchester United in the last 16 this season.

Neymar should not be Brazil's captain for the Copa America as other players have more leadership experience, according to Edmilson.

The Paris Saint-Germain forward has had another injury-hit campaign but has returned to fitness in time for this year's tournament.

Neymar appeared to be affected by the burden of expectation on his shoulders when playing for Brazil at the World Cup last year.

And PSG coach Thomas Tuchel has ruled out making Neymar captain of his club, preferring to keep faith with compatriots Thiago Silva and Marquinhos.

Brazil start their Copa America campaign with group games against Bolivia, Venezuela and Peru, and Edmilson has told coach Tite to look elsewhere for his captain.

"It's a squad list where there are people with experience and who were already captains," the former Barcelona and Brazil defender told reporters.

"In my opinion, this is not the ideal time to deliver the armband to Neymar, but the final decision is with Tite.

"The list has once again been the subject of debate, the diversity of players is good and we have several alternatives in each position.

"It is clear that Tite feels the pressure of having to win this Copa America at home, these have been chosen by the coach to get the title."

Tite left out Real Madrid duo Marcelo and Vinicius Junior for his Copa America squad, with Porto full-back Alex Telles another notable absentee.

Brazil face Qatar and Honduras in pre-tournament friendlies before getting the tournament underway on June 14.

Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe sensationally hinted at a move away from the French champions on Sunday. 

Mbappe has been linked with a blockbuster transfer to LaLiga giants Real Madrid, though the 20-year-old France international reassured fans last month that he would stay in Paris.

However, Mbappe cast doubt over his future after being crowned Ligue 1's Best Player and Best Young Player of the Year.

"This was the only title that I was missing. I am truly very happy," Mbappe – who has scored 32 Ligue 1 goals this season – said as he received the award.

"I want to thank all of the people who put together this league. I succeeded in adapting in my first year, to change position this year.

"There were some disappointments, but that is part of football. This is a very important moment for me.

"I am arriving at the second turning point in my career. I have discovered an enormous amount of things here.

"It is maybe the moment to have more responsibilities, maybe at PSG, with pleasure, or elsewhere for a new project. In any case, thanks everyone."

Mbappe, who has won back-to-back Ligue 1 titles since arriving from Monaco, later added: "I said what I had to say. When you are in such an occasion you can send messages, I think I have sent mine.

"If I speak more it will be too much and that is not the message I wish to send."

World Cup winner Mbappe's two-goal haul in Saturday's 4-0 rout of Dijon saw him become the first Frenchman to score 32 league goals in a Ligue 1 season since Philippe Gondet did so for Nantes in 1965-66.

In total, Mbappe has netted 38 goals across all competitions for PSG – who were remarkably eliminated by Manchester United in the Champions League last 16.

Nicolas Pepe will leave Lille for a "great European team" in the next transfer window, the Ligue 1 side's coach Christophe Galtier has confirmed.

Pepe has been in outstanding form for Lille this season, scoring 22 league goals from 37 appearances as Galtier's side secured a second-place finish.

His performances have reportedly drawn interest from a number of high-profile suitors, and Galtier conceded Lille have little choice but to cash in on the 23-year-old.

"Nicolas Pepe will leave. Life's like that, football's like that today," Galtier told Canal+.

"He is a player of the highest level who will have a big decision to make on the choice of his next club.

"There will be a battle between the great European teams. I hope that he will take good amount of time to think about it, do his research."

Pepe scored twice in Lille's 5-0 win over his former club Angers on Saturday.

Premier League clubs Liverpool and Manchester United have been credited with an interest, though Paris Saint-Germain are also reportedly eager to sign the Ivory Coast international.

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