Saturday, December 5, 2020

He scores in training! Tuchel backs Neymar to end goal drought in PSG´s Champions League final

SoccerNews in Ligue 1 18 Aug 2020

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Thomas Tuchel backed Neymar to emerge from his goal drought and fire Paris Saint-Germain to Champions League glory on Sunday.

By Neymar’s high standards, going three games without scoring is unusual, and the Brazilian star had plenty of chances in Tuesday’s 3-0 semi-final victory over RB Leipzig.

As it happened, his misses were not punished as PSG overwhelmed their German opponents, with Neymar laying on one of the goals for Angel Di Maria.

And as long as the French champions keep winning, it hardly matters to head coach Tuchel who finds the net.

There is no question of Neymar’s place in the team being vulnerable, given the 28-year-old and strike partner Kylian Mbappe would be marquee players at any club in the world.

Nevertheless, the longer he goes without a goal, the closer the scrutiny will be on Neymar.

“With the quality he has, and the confidence he has, he will be more clinical again,” Tuchel said in his post-match news conference.

“He has the possibility to become one of the best players in the world and this team, together with Mbappe, it’s great, and if he scores a goal in the final then I’m happy.”

A lower-league defender in Germany in his playing days, Tuchel joked that he was hardly ideally placed to show one of the world’s most accomplished strikers how to put away chances. 

“I can’t do anything about it. What can I tell him? How can I explain to him how to score a goal?” Tuchel said, as PSG await either Bayern Munich or Lyon in the final.

“I only scored two in my whole career. I can’t really help him with that. Maybe Kylian can give him some advice.”

Neymar drew a blank against Lyon in the goalless Coupe de la Ligue final at the end of July, before also leaving it to others to grab the late strikes that dramatically saw off Atalanta in the Champions League quarter-finals.

Tuchel clearly sees no problem, quite reasonably given much of PSG’s success has been down to the enterprising forward play of the former Barcelona forward.

Against Leipzig, he was highly influential and would have been well worth his name on the scoresheet.

“In training, he scores. He plays exceptionally well and he’s extremely strong on the pitch,” Tuchel said. “He just has this strong mentality, this strong character. He has this winning spirit and mentality.”

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