Thomas Tuchel has caused a defensive "mess" at Paris Saint-Germain by using Marquinhos in midfield, according to ex-striker Mevlut Erding.

Brazil international Marquinhos has been deployed in midfield in recent games by PSG head coach Tuchel.

The German has instead used midfielder Danilo Pereira, signed on loan from Porto, at the back.

Erding, who made 109 appearances for PSG between 2009 and 2012, claimed Tuchel has made a tactical blunder with his use of the PSG skipper.

"Marquinhos must be the leader of this team, but in defence. This is where he is the leader," Erding told L'Equipe.

"It's a mess! In midfield, he loses his influence. I do not understand this choice of Thomas Tuchel. He could justify it before to troubleshoot, to tinker, when there was no Danilo Pereira.

"Marquinhos will have the leadership of this team but in central defence. It is he who embodies the succession of Thiago Silva in all areas."

PSG claimed a 2-0 victory over Istanbul Basaksehir on Wednesday to register their first win in the Champions League this season thanks to two goals from Everton loanee Moise Kean.

They are top of Ligue 1 on goal difference ahead of second-placed Lille, who also have 18 points.

Thomas Tuchel insists he "does not feel in danger" of losing his job ahead of Paris Saint-Germain's Champions League clash with Istanbul Basaksehir on Wednesday. 

Tuchel guided PSG to the final of the competition last term but his position was again called into question last week following a 2-1 home defeat to Manchester United at the start of the group stage. 

PSG chiefs have reportedly already drawn up a shortlist of options to replace Tuchel, with Massimiliano Allegri and Mauricio Pochettino being considered. 

However, the German coach - under contract until the end of the season - is not worried about his future and is hopeful his side will bounce back with victory against the Turkish champions. 

"No, I don't feel in danger before this game. I know how I work. A coach cannot be afraid of the result," he said at the pre-match news conference. 

"We are very demanding of ourselves. I really hope the Manchester United game was the last reminder that you have to give your all, physically and mentally, to win.  

"We play the Turkish champions next and, although we are missing players, we have sufficient quality and we are here to show that we absolutely want to win.

"We have to show that we can play a lot better than last week." 

PSG are unbeaten in their last five matches in European competition versus Turkish teams ahead of their trip to the Fatih Terim Stadium. 

The Ligue 1 champions arrived in Istanbul under the protection of an escort on the eve of the match due to tense diplomatic relations between France and Turkey. 

Tuchel admits the situation is upsetting but does not believe it will disrupt his players as they look to avoid back-to-back Group H defeats. 

"We have heard things and personally I am sad that it is not possible for everyone to live in harmony," he said.  

"I am very sad but not worried. I really hope that there will be no involvement between sport and politics.  

"But I have not spoken with my players about the situation, for the moment. We are not just football players; we live together in the same world.  

"There are some tensions, it is a particular situation. But the focus is on the match and it's also a privilege to play in the Champions League." 

Tuchel also confirmed ahead of the game that Marquinhos will once again operate in central midfield, as was the case in the league win over Dijon. 

The Brazil international completed 47 of his 53 passes in the routine victory and turned over possession four times during his 73 minutes on the field. 

"I really appreciated what Marquinhos provides for us in the middle," Tuchel said. "I have the impression that he is more important for us in that position.  

"He will play in the middle tomorrow to help us win."

Neymar has not been included in the Paris Saint-Germain squad for Friday's Ligue 1 clash with Nimes.

Head coach Thomas Tuchel is said to be keen to rest the forward, who played in both of Brazil's World Cup qualifying matches during the international break.

The 28-year-old scored a hat-trick in the 4-2 victory over Peru on Wednesday to reach 63 goals for his country, moving ahead of former striker Ronaldo and behind only Pele (77) on the all-time list.

With PSG now preparing for seven games in the next 22 days, including a Champions League trip to Manchester United next Tuesday, Neymar has been given more time to recover.

Tuchel otherwise has a handful of injury concerns to some key first-team players.

Defender Marquinhos returned from Brazil duty with a minor adductor problem and will face further tests over the coming days, while Marco Verratti sustained a thigh injury with Italy.

Julian Draxler is not expected to train again until Monday due to a hamstring complaint, while Mauro Icardi remains sidelined with a knee ligament issue.

New signing Danilo Pereira has been isolating from the team as part of contact tracing protocols adopted by PSG.

All four players will miss the game against Nimes, who have gone three games unbeaten in Ligue 1.

Jese Rodriguez, who came off the bench in the 1-0 loss to Lens last month, has been included in the squad.

Moise Kean could make his first appearance since joining on loan from Everton, while Rafinha may also make his debut after his move from Barcelona.

Roberto Firmino scored twice as Brazil eased past Bolivia 5-0 in a dominant display to kick off their 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign.

Brazil barely raised a sweat in their opening CONMEBOL qualifier on Friday, outclassing Bolivia thanks to Firmino's brace, while Marquinhos and Philippe Coutinho were also on target, to go with a Jose Carrasco own goal.

Tite's Brazil had not played since their 3-0 win over South Korea in a November friendly after the coronavirus pandemic forced World Cup qualifying to be postponed in March, but the Selecao did not look like a team featuring for the first time in 2020.

Brazil dominated from the outset and they should have scored two goals inside three minutes, however, Everton and Marquinhos wasted golden opportunities in the pouring Sao Paulo rain.

Marquinhos, who glanced a header wide in the third minute, made no mistake in the 16th minute as he got on the end of a Danilo cross and headed powerfully past Bolivia goalkeeper Carlos Lampe to open the scoring.

Bolivia could not get close to Brazil and the visitors almost conceded again after Coutinho's shot from the top of the penalty area took a wicked deflection and skidded off the turf, forcing Lampe into a fine diving save.

Bolivia's non-existent defending was exposed when Renan Lodi made an unmarked run and whipped a ball across the six-yard box for Firmino to tap home.

Brazil continued where they left off in the second half after Firmino netted within four minutes of the restart – Neymar playing a ball to his team-mate, who routinely poked home.

Weverton – playing in the absence of injured number one goalkeeper Alisson – had nothing to do until he was called into action by Bruno Miranda's rising shot in the 50th minute.

Brazil showed no mercy as Carrasco deflected the ball into his own net past the hour mark, before Neymar provided the cross for the onrushing Coutinho to head home emphatically with 17 minutes remaining.

 

What does it mean? Brazil dance to their own beat

Brazil took to the field for the first time in almost a year and the South American giants did not look off the pace, unlike rivals Argentina on Thursday. Albeit against weaker opposition, Brazil kicked off their road to Qatar 2022 in ruthless fashion.

Neymar pulls the strings

The Paris Saint-Germain superstar was not on the scoresheet, but he produced a great performance. After shaking off a back problem, Neymar was at the heart of Brazil's big moments, providing a pair of assists in his 102nd international appearance.

Sorry Bolivia

It was always going to be an uphill battle for South America's whipping boys. Bolivia – beaten 3-0 by Brazil in their last meeting at the 2019 Copa America – rarely threatened, pegged back in their own half for the majority of the contest.

What's next?

Brazil will face Peru on Tuesday, while Bolivia host Lionel Messi's Argentina on the same day.

Paris Saint-Germain will be without three suspended players, including Neymar, against Metz on Wednesday, but will have Marquinhos and Mauro Icardi available.

Brazil defender Marquinhos and former Inter striker Icardi were among seven PSG players to test positive for coronavirus earlier in September.

The list also included Neymar, Keylor Navas, Leandro Paredes, Angel Di Maria and Kylian Mbappe.

Mbappe, Marquinhos and Icardi were the only ones not given the green light to feature against Marseille on Sunday, though the remaining quartet could not help Thomas Tuchel's side avoid a 1-0 defeat and their second loss of the Ligue 1 season in an ill-tempered Classique.

Neymar was shown a red card in a stoppage-time fracas - later claiming he was racially abused by Marseille's Alvaro, allegations that the defender denied - with Paredes and Layvin Kurzawa also receiving their marching orders.

While Neymar, Paredes and Kurzawa will be missing on Wednesday, Tuchel has been handed a boost with the return of both Marquinhos and Icardi, with only Mbappe still in quarantine.

Marco Verratti and new signing Alessandro Florenzi both started against Marseille, though the Italy duo have not been included in Tuchel's 21-man squad to face Metz.

Goalkeeper Navas did not make the bench on Sunday, though could be set to replace Sergio Rico, who has signed permanently from Sevilla following a successful loan spell.

Paris Saint-Germain eased to a 3-0 win over RB Leipzig in Lisbon to reach their first ever Champions League final and remain on course for an unprecedented quadruple.

PSG needed two goals in stoppage time to overcome Atalanta in the last round but had far less trouble seeing off Atletico Madrid's conquerors Leipzig on Tuesday.

Angel Di Maria crossed for Marquinhos to power in the opener after 11 minutes and then profited from some sublime Neymar trickery to double his side's tally before half-time.

And the Argentinian also set up the third for Juan Bernat as PSG booked a place in Sunday's final against either Bayern Munich or Lyon, with that other semi-final to take place on Wednesday.

Neymar played a huge part in PSG's comeback against Atalanta and should have registered inside 355 seconds of this tie, only to hit the post when played clean through.

The French side were boosted by the return of Kylian Mbappe to their starting line-up and he had a half-volley correctly ruled out a minute later for a handball against Neymar.

However, Leipzig could not settle and Thomas Tuchel's side were in front soon after when Di Maria's wicked delivery was guided in from six yards by an unmarked Marquinhos.

Neymar again clipped the post from a free-kick but he brilliantly set up Di Maria for PSG's second with a cushioned flick after Peter Gulacsi's pass was intercepted.

Leipzig brought on Emil Forsberg and Patrik Schick at half-time and started the second half on top, but Bernat met Di Maria's cross to head past Gulacsi and kill things off. 

PSG had numerous chances to add a fourth in the remainder of the one-sided affair, with Mbappe squandering a good chance and then being denied by Gulacsi, who also produced a late double save to keep out Di Maria and Leandro Paredes.

What does it mean? Quadruple dream still alive for PSG

Nine years on from their Qatari takeover, PSG are now just one step away from winning the one trophy that has so far eluded them and the one they truly crave  - the Champions League.

Having won a domestic treble of Coupe de France, Coupe de la Ligue and Ligue 1, plus the Trophee des Champions, this is shaping up to be the most famous season in the club's history. 

Di Maria undoes Leipzig

PSG may have missed Mbappe for three-quarters of their tight tussle with Atalanta yet the absence of Di Maria in that one cannot be understated.

He returned from suspension here and played a part in all three goals, taking his assists tally to 27 in the competition since his debut in September 2007 - only Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi (32 each) have more.

Gulacsi gifts goal to PSG

PSG looked dominant but undoubtedly were helped by some sloppy play from their opponents, with no error more glaring than Gulacsi's hospital pass in the lead up to the second goal.

The Leipzig keeper pretty much played the ball straight to Paredes, who fizzed it into the path of Neymar to tee up Di Maria with a superb flick.

What's next?

PSG can now prepare for Sunday's showpiece final at this ground, where either German champions Bayern or domestic rivals Lyon await.

Paris Saint-Germain's Marquinhos conceded the squad have been left concerned by Kylian Mbappe's injury following their Coupe de France triumph over Saint-Etienne.

In their first competitive match since the suspension of football in France due to coronavirus in March, PSG clinched the Coupe de France crown thanks to Neymar's 14th-minute goal on Friday.

However, the victory was overshadowed by an injury to Mbappe, who was scythed down in the 31st minute by Loic Perrin – the defender subsequently seeing red for a tackle which sparked a touchline fracas.

Mbappe later returned to the bench on crutches and with his leg in a brace, casting serious doubt over his fitness for PSG's Champions League clash with Atalanta in August – while he will almost certainly miss next week's Coupe de la Ligue final against Lyon.

PSG also lost defender Thilo Kehrer to injury, and Marquinhos acknowledged the champions have been dealt a blow. 

"Obviously, Mbappe's injury worries us, and that of Kehrer," he told France 2. "Hopefully this is not too serious. We will see how it goes.

"They are two important players in the squad. You just have to think about preparing and working well. There are still trophies to go for. We will see day by day."

PSG coach Thomas Tuchel, meanwhile, labelled the triumph as an "expensive victory".

"Yes, we won. In a final, that's the most important," Tuchel told Eurosport. "It was complicated for several reasons. We won, but there are many things to improve and analyse.

"That's good. But it's an expensive victory. In the last three matches against Saint-Etienne, they always have a red in the first 30 minutes. And I'm not telling you what is said in the locker room before. And in addition, we are the ones who take three yellow cards.

"I have no news from Mbappe yet."

Saint-Etienne goalkeeper Jessy Moulin, meanwhile, came to the defence of team-mate Perrin, who has played his final match for the club.

"There is no one who can blame him," Moulin said on France 2. "When you see his career, he is exemplary in all areas.

"He was a leader throughout his career, thanks to his qualities on the pitch. It's a true Saint-Etienne player who is leaving us. And it hurts a lot to know that he won't be sitting next to us in the locker room anymore. I hope he stays close to us. But he knows we all love him."

Thomas Tuchel said Paris Saint-Germain needed to remain confident and retain belief in their Champions League chances after an impressive win over Dijon.

PSG have faced criticism in the wake of their 2-1 loss to Borussia Dortmund in the last-16 first leg, but crushed Dijon 4-0 on Saturday.

Tuchel said there was no reason to begin doubting his PSG side, who hold a 13-point lead atop Ligue 1.

"The players want to prove that they are able to take a step forward, that too many criticisms have been said," the PSG coach told a news conference.

"They are having a consistent season, with many wins, with good performances, professional performances, strong performances. They deserved their victories. There were only few draws and one defeat.

"We can't lose confidence in this team, we can't lose confidence in this group. There are two games [first leg and second leg]. The players want to play the second leg. They want to prove what they can do.

"They started to show their abilities in training sessions this week, they showed it in this game, they will continue next Wednesday [in a Coupe de France semi-final against Lyon]."

Kylian Mbappe scored a brace against Dijon to go with goals from Pablo Sarabia and Mauro Icardi, while Angel Di Maria was substituted after just 17 minutes.

Tuchel played down any concerns over Di Maria and said he was "confident" the attacker would face Lyon.

The injury comes less than two weeks out from the second leg against Dortmund in Paris, although fears over the coronavirus continue to impact sporting events.

PSG defender Marquinhos has no interest in playing the second leg behind closed doors, saying it would be better to postpone the clash.

"Playing without fans would be a shame. I think it would be better to cancel the game. They had their fans at home. We want our fans at home," he said.

"I hope it won't happen. If a decision is made to play behind closed doors, we will ask to cancel the game, to play later in front of our fans."

Paris Saint-Germain forward Neymar was exempt from blame for his sending off in a 4-3 win over Bordeaux on Sunday after head coach Thomas Tuchel refused to criticise a reckless tackle.

Brazil international Neymar was shown a second yellow card for a late challenge on Bordeaux's Yacine Adli in added time of the Ligue 1 clash at the Parc des Princes.

The 28-year-old had an angry exchange with referee Willy Delajod and then appeared to sarcastically applaud the officials as he left the pitch.

However, Tuchel believed Neymar's reaction was a natural one given he felt the PSG player had been fouled beforehand by Bordeaux's Youssouf Sabaly.

Neymar is now set to miss PSG's next Ligue 1 fixture at home to Dijon on Saturday.

"We have to talk about the whole situation," Tuchel said of Neymar's challenge in his post-match media conference.

"He is nervous and he reacts. It is human. He must not, but it is human. And the Bordeaux player does not even get a yellow card."

PSG secured the points after a chaotic win thanks to two goals from Marquinhos and one apiece for Edinson Cavani – his 200th in all competitions for the club – and Kylian Mbappe.

It helped PSG increase their lead to 13 points over second-placed Marseille at the top of Ligue 1.

And Tuchel acknowledged the win helped boost morale as they produced a positive reaction to a 2-1 defeat to Borussia Dortmund in the first leg of their last-16 Champions League tie.

"The victory is the most important thing now because there are things to improve, it is clear," added the German coach.

"The players lack a little confidence after a defeat. It's like that. We can see that a lot of teams in Europe after a defeat it's always a little difficult to regain spirit and confidence."

Brazilian defender Marquinhos feels PSG must work hard to improve their defensive performances after leaking seven goals in their past two Ligue 1 games.

"On the one hand we are really very strong offensively, but on the other we concede a lot of goals," he told Canal+.

"As defenders we really have to think about what we can do best. In this match it was mainly on set-pieces. We really have to work better collectively."

Neymar saw red as Paris Saint-Germain moved 13 points clear at top of Ligue 1 after Edinson Cavani's 200th goal for the club helped them to a 4-3 win over Bordeaux on Sunday.

Hwang Ui-jo gave Bordeaux a surprise lead before Cavani equalised for PSG with his landmark strike at the Parc des Princes.

The hosts went ahead when Marquinhos chested the ball home but Bordeaux levelled through Pablo following a mistake by PSG goalkeeper Sergio Rico.

Marquinhos and Kylian Mbappe both finished clinically to put Thomas Tuchel's side in command, although Ruben Pardo reduced the deficit to set up a tense finish and Neymar was dismissed for a second booking late on.

 

Thomas Tuchel admitted he was "very surprised" by leaked footage that showed Paris Saint-Germain's players partying into the early hours of the morning this week.

A number of PSG's first-team stars attended a lavish joint-birthday party for Edinson Cavani, Mauro Icardi and Angel Di Maria in Paris on Thursday.

The extravagant bash was held two days after the French champions' 2-1 loss to Borussia Dortmund in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie.

Footage on social media showed some players, including forward Neymar, topless and bouncing around the room.

And with a Ligue 1 clash against Bordeaux to come on Sunday, Tuchel has questioned the actions of his players.

"I was really surprised yesterday afternoon when watching the video," he said at Saturday's pre-match news conference. 

"You can be sure that we talked internally. I don't want to talk about it now, but we talked about it within the club and it has to stay that way."

He added: "You can be sure that we are not happy with this image. We talked together as a team and it is now an internal matter.

"I am here to improve my group. I cannot give advice to the club, that is not my role."

Marquinhos was in attendance at the exclusive Pavillon Dauphine and defended the decision to throw the triple birthday party.

"The leaked footage was a mistake," he told reporters. "However, it had been planned for a long time. We needed to get together. 

"We must be careful, though, as there are people who travel miles to follow us.

"There has been frustration at the result and poor performance [against Dortmund]. We know our strengths, especially at home.We must work hard and with a good mentality."

Neymar suggested after the loss to Dortmund that he has been unhappy with PSG's management of his rib injury, insisting he was ready to return to action earlier.

However, Tuchel has reiterated that he cannot risk the Brazil international's fitness at a key point in the season.

"As I said before, it was a discussion between the club, medical staff and myself. With each injury we have to make many decisions, that's the way it is," he said.

"Imagine if we let him play, the injury got worse and he was out for three months. You would have asked the same questions, whether it was a mistake to play him.

"We have to think about why we are making these decisions and you have to trust me. We have talked a lot and it is the same with every player.

"Obviously I want him to play every game and we have to make decisions together. This is the decision we made between us. Now he needs to regain his rhythm."

Tuchel also confirmed Thomas Meunier and Colin Dagba are out of Sunday's clash with Bordeaux at the Parc des Princes, where he is hoping for a quick response from his side.

"It is never easy to start again after a defeat, but that is the challenge," he said. "I have the impression that all the players want to prove themselves.

"Sometimes the players are more competitive when things aren't comfortable. That is exactly the mindset we are looking for."

Marquinhos warned Paris Saint-Germain's attitude must be spot-on at Borussia Dortmund after they stumbled to a 4-4 draw against Amiens on Saturday.

A shabby performance from the Ligue 1 leaders was not the way in which Thomas Tuchel's side wanted to prepare for Tuesday's Champions League last-16 match in Germany.

There seems no prospect of PSG losing their grip on top spot domestically; however, their burning ambition is to succeed in Europe.

And a repeat of the display at Amiens would almost certainly be punished ruthlessly by Dortmund, who have the likes of Erling Haaland and Jadon Sancho in their ranks.

Defender Marquinhos came off the bench at Amiens where PSG trailed 3-1 and turned the game around to lead 4-3, before shipping a late equaliser to a team who have not won in the league since November.

Brazil international Marquinhos, fit again after a hamstring injury, said: "We saw that if we aren't focused at the start of a game, we can concede goals and that could cost us dearly in the end.

"We need to keep in mind the team's good reaction, because it was important to get back on level terms. It shows you have to keep your concentration right to the end, because if you just drop off for just a second, you concede a goal at the end of the game."

Marquinhos told PSG's website: "It was important for me to play again, to get back into things ahead of the important game coming up. I'm very happy to have managed that before the big match ahead of us.

"We now have to turn to Dortmund, we have to think about playing well, and that we're all 100 per cent there, even if there have been some difficult situations before that game. We need to have a good attitude to put in a good performance."

Neymar out of PSG v Lyon

February 08, 2020

Paris Saint-Germain will once again be without Neymar when they face Lyon on Sunday and Juan Bernat also remains sidelined due to illness.

Neymar suffered a rib injury during a 5-0 thrashing of Montpellier last weekend and sat out the 2-1 victory at Nantes on Tuesday, having thrown a lavish party 48 hours earlier to celebrate his 28th birthday.

He trained on Friday, but PSG boss Thomas Tuchel revealed the former Barcelona man will not feature in the Ligue 1 clash with Rudi Garcia's side at the Parc des Princes.

Bernat has recovered from a calf injury, but the full-back misses out after falling ill. 

Thiago Silva is not ready to return from a hip problem, although the centre-back has also been able to resume training this week and the same goes for fellow defenders Marquinhos (calf) and Abdou Diallo (thigh).

Colin Dagba is another player unavailable to Tuchel due to a knee injury as PSG look to extend their unbeaten run to 21 matches in all competitions. 

The champions are 12 points clear of Marseille at the top of the table.

Paris Saint-Germain defender Marquinhos will be out for close to a month after injuring his hamstring in the Coupe de la Ligue win over Reims.

The Brazilian scored the opener in PSG's routine 3-0 semi-final victory on Wednesday but was forced from the pitch with around 20 minutes remaining.

He looks set to miss Ligue 1 games against Lille, Montpellier, Nantes and Lyon, plus next week's Coupe de France date with third-tier Pau.

In a statement, PSG announced: "Marquinhos suffered a hamstring injury on Wednesday at the Stade Auguste Delaune, and examinations confirmed a lesion of the biceps femoris.

"He is expected to be unavailable for three weeks."

PSG will hope to have the 25-year-old fully fit for the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie against Borussia Dortmund on February 18.

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