Thomas Tuchel just can’t let it go.
It seems like as long as the Paris Saint-Germain manager keeps getting Neymar questions, he’s going to keep talking about the past rather than move on.
Ahead of PSG’s Champions League opener against Real Madrid, for which Neymar will be sidelined due to suspension alongside the injured Edinson Cavani and Kylian Mbappe, Tuchel reiterated his idea that Neymar will be jeered by pretty much everyone this season, even his own fans.
“He did not want to be here. He tried everything that was in his power [to leave the club],” Tuchel told DAZN (via BeIN Sports) prior to the match. “That did not help make him popular. You could feel that and I can understand it, if the crowd are angry, even permanently.”
This follows up Tuchel’s comments following Saturday’s last-gasp win in Ligue 1 play over Strasbourg. After Neymar’s spectacular stoppage-time winner to earn PSG a 1-0 result, Tuchel said that every match the Brazilian plays will be “like an away game” for him.
We know Neymar wanted to leave, the player himself confirmed as much and we’ve been hearing about it for months. It’s somewhat surprising that Tuchel continues to double- and triple-down on this narrative instead of insisting the media move on. Managers can strongly control the narrative surrounding their players, and if Tuchel refuses to talk any more about Neymar’s desire to leave, he can somewhat squash the talk around his unhappiness, at least until the winter picks up. Neymar isn’t even able to play in the club’s first three Champions League group stage matches due to his suspension, so the fact Tuchel is even addressing Neymar while previewing the club’s upcoming European match is surprising in and of itself.
Tuchel did admit that he appreciates Neymar’s demeanor now that the saga is over with for now. “Nevertheless, there is also a side between me as a coach and him as a player,” Tuchel said. “There was never a break or a discrepancy. That’s why it was very easy for me to let him play. He has always trained professionally. I feel that the decision was a relief to him, even though it fell against his wish.”
“He has to withstand it now, that’s the reality. He has to go through, we have to go through all in the home games a bit. The best thing is to come to terms with it.”