Resting star trio was necessary, says PSG boss Tuchel
Paris St Germain manager Thomas Tuchel said it was “necessary” to rest stars Neymar, Edinson Cavani and Kylian Mbappe as Strasbourg stopped them from securing the title at Parc des Princes.
Tuchel’s side needed three points to retain the Ligue 1 title but the visitors struck twice in quick succession as the game finished 2-2.
Neymar, Cavani and Angel Di Maria were absent, while Mbappe was named as a substitute for the game, and Tuchel said it was necessary to “protect his players”.
Speaking to L’Equipe, he said: “I don’t like playing without Neymar, Edi, Di Maria, all the players who can make a difference
“But it was necessary. Kylian felt something in his muscles over the last three games. It’s not always possible to play him.”
Despite the absences, it looked a formality for PSG when Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting got the opening goal after 13 minutes.
All square. Shared points.— Paris Saint-Germain (@PSG_English) April 7, 2019
However, Strasbourg arrived in the French capital on a high after winning the Coupe de la Ligue final last weekend and following it up with a 4-0 midweek success against Reims, and the visitors rallied.
Thierry Laurey’s team turned the game on its head before half-time with goals from Nuno Da Costa and Anthony Goncalves.
Can he be the catalyst?— Paris Saint-Germain (@PSG_English) April 7, 2019
The introduction of Mbappe after an hour saw PSG become much more of a threat and Thilo Kehrer equalised with eight minutes remaining, but the hosts could not find a winning goal and their inevitable coronation was put on hold.
PSG should have regained the lead at 1-1 but an astonishing miss by Choupo-Moting meant it stayed level.
Christopher Nkunku lifted his shot over the advancing goalkeeper and the ball was set to trickle into the net, only for Choupo-Moting to follow it in and stop the ball on the goal line in an attempt to get the final touch and his second goal of the game.
Tuchel said: “I think he’s lacking confidence. He’s not here to start every game but he is at the moment because we have a lot of injuries.
“It’s not his role. He’s a great substitute.
“Today, he was very unhappy. He started well then stopped the ball on the line. I don’t know why he did that. You could say it’s Murphy’s law.”
Aucune des 6 premières équipes du classement ne s'est imposée ce week-end !— Ligue 1 Conforama (@Ligue1Conforama) April 7, 2019
PSG are 20 points clear at the top of the table with eight games left and their next chance to clinch the title will come when they travel to second-placed Lille next weekend.
Laurey was quoted in L’Equipe as saying: “It was a shame to concede to make it 2-2 with eight minutes left to play.
“It was a bit like the Alamo, the saves from Matz Sels were necessary and we prayed a little.
“But regardless of the result, I am very happy with the performance of my players because it’s matches like these which will help them progress.”
Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Join now for unlimited access
Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
Get FourFourTwo Newsletter
The best features, fun and footballing quizzes, straight to your inbox every week.
FourFourTwo was launched in 1994 on the back of a World Cup that England hadn’t even qualified for. It was an act of madness… but it somehow worked out. Our mission is to offer our intelligent, international audience access to the game’s biggest names, insightful analysis... and a bit of a giggle. We unashamedly love this game and we hope that our coverage reflects that.