Paris Saint-Germain head coach Thomas Tuchel refused to be drawn into a row with Nantes counterpart Vahid Halilhodzic ahead of the sides’ meeting in the semi-finals of the Coupe de France.
Halilhodzic, who represented PSG as a player in the mid-1980s and coached them between 2003 and 2005, was scathing in his criticism of his former club’s Champions League exit at the hands of Manchester United in an interview with Le Parisien.
The 66-year-old lambasted Tuchel’s side over their approach to the second leg at the Parc des Princes, where the French champions ceded a 2-0 first-leg lead to eventually exit on away goals after Marcus Rashford ‘s controversial late penalty sealed a 3-1 win for United.
“The lesson is you acted like a child, so you have the result of a child,” Halilhodzic said, while he claimed PSG have the best squad in Europe and have fallen short of that potential in an “incomprehensible” manner.
Speaking at a pre-match news conference, Tuchel said: “I cannot lose my concentration and my energy with the opinion of Halilhodzic about me.
“It is necessary not to think of the Ligue 1 in the cup and the cup in the championship.
“We need to be ready for this game. A lot of players are missing. We have to stay together.”
Indeed, the injury worries that hindered Tuchel ahead of PSG’s first-leg success at Old Trafford in February largely remain, with Neymar (foot), Edinson Cavani (hip) and Thomas Meunier (knee) among a weighty list of absentees.
Conférence de presse de Thomas Tuchel avant Paris Saint-Germain FC Nantes https://t.co/Gq7D9MriIH
— Paris Saint-Germain (@PSG_inside) April 2, 2019
Angel Di Maria remains unavailable having withdrawn form Argentina duty with a muscular problem, although Tuchel still harbours hopes Germany midfielder Julian Draxler – who is suffering from a hamstring injury – and veteran defender Dani Alves can be involved.
“Neymar, Cavani, Di Maria, Meunier and maybe Draxler are not available for tomorrow,” he confirmed.
“With Draxler and Dani Alves, we still have to try today and tomorrow morning before the game.”
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