Paris St Germain boss Thomas Tuchel has challenged his players to make Ligue 1 rivals Montpellier pay for their Coupe de France final heartache.
The French champions suffered a shock penalty shoot-out defeat in Saturday’s showdown with Rennes, during which Kylian Mbappe was dismissed for a studs-up challenge.
PSG go into Tuesday’s game with a 16-point lead over second-placed Lille and the title already sewn up, but Tuchel wants to use the pain of failure as inspiration for future success.
He told his pre-match press conference: “We are very upset. The changing room was completely silent after the game. We are a club that want to win everything, that is used to winning.
“We have seen our intensity drop since the last international break. We have had to deal with a lot of injuries. It’s been very hard to keep playing well over such a long period.
“It’s further proof that it’s not easy to win. We need to analyse the current situation and start preparing for next season.”
He added: “It’s an important match for Montpellier, so we are expecting them to give it everything. But when you play for Paris St Germain we have to keep fighting, we need to be ready tomorrow, to play well.”
Defeat was all the more difficult to take after Dani Alves and Neymar had given the favourites a 2-0 lead before Presnel Kimpembe’s own goal and Mexer’s equaliser set up a dramatic conclusion and left the PSG dressing room smarting.
Tuchel said: “I prefer that my players discuss things amongst themselves, talk things through. That’s how a squad can grow, progress and continue to improve.
“We need more players that hate losing.”
Mbappe will be suspended as a result of his dismissal and Thiago Silva is also absent, while Tuchel has hinted he may make changes with several players nursing niggling injuries after a long season.
PSG won the reverse fixture 5-1 in February, but have failed to score on their last two visits to the Stade De La Mosson.
Montpellier’s motivation is the pursuit of the final European berth with Rennes’ surprise cup final victory meaning only fourth place will yield a Europa League spot this season.
They currently sit sixth, eight points behind fourth-placed St Etienne with a game in hand, but knowing they cannot afford to drop too many of the 15 points still available to them if they are to make the top four.
Head coach Michel Der Zakarian, who had earlier signed a contract extension, told his press conference: “There is only one European place left, it is the fourth. It’s up to us to fight for this place.
“We have to win tomorrow night no matter what players line up. Now we have five finals to win. If we want to catch St Etienne in the last European place, we have to win our five games.”
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