Tuchel hails 'exceptional' Neymar after match-winning display at Lille

By Sports Desk January 27, 2020

Thomas Tuchel hailed Neymar as an "exceptional" player after the Brazil star led Paris Saint-Germain to a 2-0 Ligue 1 win at Lille.

The forward made it 13 goals in as many league games this season as he struck in each half at Stade Pierre-Mauroy for the champions.

With nine goals in his past seven league appearances helping PSG to a 10-point lead at the top of the table, Neymar's spectacular form has won the admiration of his head coach.

"He has an incredible ability to accelerate and dribble. He was exceptional at times," Tuchel said on Sunday.

"He's been playing at this level for weeks and has offered us games of this calibre every three days. 

"He's a boy who is capable of simple things and then exceptional things in the next minute. I'm happy for him as this will give him a lot of confidence."

Tuchel was happy with the way PSG largely nullified the threat of a Lille side whose previous home defeat in the top flight was back in March last year.

"We had a lot of the ball in the first period and a bit less in the second, when our counter-attacks weren't all successful. We lost easy balls sometimes," Tuchel said.

"It was still a good game overall that we managed to control. It wasn't that obvious that we faced a very strong opposing team, unbeaten at home, with a very strong coach and a really good atmosphere."

Thiago Silva was replaced at half-time, but Tuchel stressed the change was a precaution as the centre-back had felt some discomfort.

However, the decision to take off left-back Abdou Diallo with 14 minutes remaining was down to concern about his use of the ball.

"Thiago tried to play through with some pubis pain, but it wasn't very comfortable for him," Tuchel explained. "That's why we took him off at half-time. But I don't think it's too serious.

"As for Diallo, he lost the ball three times and that was pretty dangerous. It was better for him to go off."

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    ROUND-UP

    - RMC claims Porto full-back Alex Telles has agreed terms with Manchester United over a five-year deal. However, Paris Saint-Germain are also considering a move for the 27-year-old Brazilian following Juan Bernat's knee injury.

    - Liverpool have enquired about Schalke star Ozan Kabak, reports Chris Williams. Bundesliga strugglers Schalke are reluctant to sell the 20-year-old centre-back.

    Atletico Madrid are finalising a deal for Bayern Munich utility Javier Martinez, says Marca. Martinez played for Athletic Bilbao before joining Bundesliga powerhouse Bayern in 2012.

    - The Daily Mail claims Manchester City are eyeing Sevilla defender Jules Kounde as an alternative to Napoli's Kalidou Koulibaly. Pep Guardiola's City have been tipped to sign Koulibaly, though they have struggled to find an agreement with Napoli as PSG reportedly circle.

    Milan have overtaken Barcelona in the race to sign Lyon captain Memphis Depay, according to Sky Italia. Tipped to reunite with former Netherlands boss Ronald Koeman at Barca, Depay could now join Milan in a swap deal involving Lucas Paqueta.

    - The front page of Saturday's Mundo Deportivo says Barca are looking to sell Nelson Semedo to fund new arrivals, with Ajax sensation and Bayern target Sergino Dest, City defender Eric Garcia and Depay wanted.

    - Goal confirmed Juventus are working to bring Everton forward Moise Kean back to Turin in addition to signing Roma's Edin Dzeko. Juve are interested in a loan deal, though Everton are asking for a permanent transfer or loan with an obligation to buy.

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