Thomas Tuchel will make a late call on Kylian Mbappe’s fitness when Paris Saint-Germain travel to Montpellier on Wednesday.
Mbappe volleyed a superb winner – his 19th goal in 18 Ligue 1 games this season – as the runaway leaders triumphed 1-0 at Saint-Etienne on Sunday.
The absences of Neymar and Edinson Cavani due to respective foot and hip injuries have increased the burden on Mbappe over recent weeks, with the youngster excelling under the responsibility.
Yet, speaking at a pre-match news conference, Tuchel conceded he is wary of over-extending the 20-year-old.
“I have to speak with Kylian Mbappe today and we will decide,” Tuchel said, with Cavani and Neymar set to miss out once more, although Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting has recovered from a bout of illness.
“Without so many players, there are not many possibilities to change, the guys who are available, they have to play, and at the same time we have to manage the minutes and not take too many risks.
“But it’s not possible for the others to stay in the field for 90 minutes all the time.”
On continue notre chemin … pic.twitter.com/eYoBuR5yfD
— Kylian Mbappé (@KMbappe) February 17, 2019
Absences are not just hitting PSG in attack, with right-back Thomas Meunier still out due to concussion.
Fellow full-back Juan Bernat received a knock after operating in an unfamiliar midfield role versus Saint-Etienne.
“Juan Bernat may not be there [against Montpellier],” Tuchel explained. “He is a little injured and we cannot take any risk. He received a blow.”
January signing Leandro Paredes is unavailable, having signed after the re-arranged clash was originally scheduled to take place, while captain Thiago Silva is suspended.
As such, Tuchel is grateful to have the experience and versatility of former Barcelona and Juventus defender Dani Alves to call upon.
“Alves is a leader who demands the best of everyone, even his coach,” he said.
“He has a lot of energy, he never stops. He is a role model.”
Tuchel added: “I like to coach players like Dani Alves, [Gianluigi] Buffon] or Thiago Silva. [Angel] Di Maria too – it’s a gift, it’s good for me to grow up.”
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