Thomas Tuchel refuses to be dictated by Neymar’s star status at Paris Saint-Germain.
The Brazilian was benched in PSG’s 2-2 Champions League draw against Real Madrid on Tuesday night. He was only allowed to play in the second half and was largely ineffective in his role.
When asked whether he feared upsetting the 27-year-old, Tuchel said, “No, I’m not afraid [of the ramifications], I don’t think we are going to lose Neymar. We have a connection, we are honest. I talked to him and told him that I would rather he play in the second half and start on the bench. We did the same thing with Kylian away to Galatasaray.
“He’s been absent for six weeks, he only played one game before this one and for me it was not worth taking that risk. Every month he missed a few days. I made the decision for him, for his health.”
Real were the better side in the Santiago Bernabeu tie but PSG did enough to clinch a point. Tuchel added, “Real were the better team for a long time. We played too complicated, not quick enough, not simple enough, not with confidence. Real played with a lot of confidence.
“They showed that this is a team that won the Champions League three times in a row. We had an extraordinary goalkeeper with Keylor Navas. We were lucky, it’s not forbidden. After the goal, we were freer. There are some positive things to remember. The mentality at the end, the quality of the guys who came on, Ney and Pablo and [Julian] Draxler made the difference. We have 13 points from five games.”
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