Thomas Tuchel denied there is a crisis at Paris Saint-Germain but expressed frustration over Neymar’s birthday party, though it will not affect his team selection against Nantes.
Neymar marked turning 28 by inviting his team-mates, friends and family to a white-themed celebration at a nightclub in Paris on Sunday, just two days before PSG face Nantes in Ligue 1.
Tuchel branded the party a “distraction” following a 5-0 victory over Montpellier on Saturday, but said as long as players arrive to training on time and work hard it will not factor into his starting XI.
“You know that I always protect my players. I have a lot of reasons to do so because I have confidence, trust and really like my team. With the party, well, I accept the fact it is quite hard to protect players,” said the PSG coach.
“But the context is bigger than just saying something is black or white. But I can’t think about it for the starting 11. I cannot start thinking about who was there, who attended, at what time they left, thinking about what time they got home. I am the coach. Everybody has to be on time. Everyone will have to train seriously.
“Is it the best way to prepare for a game? No, obviously. Is it the worst thing that can happen? No, but it’s a pity because we gave people the opportunity to talk badly about us.
“It’s a shame because the team has a very strong mindset and now we need to adapt, but not in the way that I will have to leave players on the bench because they had a birthday party. No, it’s not like that.”
Tuchel, who was involved in a touchline confrontation with Kylian Mbappe after substituting him against Montpellier, did not attend Neymar’s event but refuted the suggestion his relationship with PSG’s star players has hit a nadir.
“It’s not a crisis. I am not angry personally. I am the coach, they are top players and we need them both,” added Tuchel, who said the pair could yet start together at La Beaujoire.
“We need them to win games. We play every three days. They are important and in the end we need to manage players within a strong team. We cannot have a split team. This is football and I’m absolutely convinced that only together can we be stronger.
“I am not angry with them. Sometimes in the relationship between a coach and a player, things are not easy. It’s completely normal. It happens, and we have to be very calm, very clear and we have to keep going because it’s not a big deal
“I decided not to be there during the celebration. It was my choice and that’s it. It’s nothing personal against Ney. It was my choice as the coach because it’s the best thing for the coach not to be there.”