PSG boss Tuchel backs Neymar and Mbappe after final loss

LISBON (AFP) – Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) head coach Thomas Tuchel defended his EUR400 million strike force of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe after they were unable to find a way past Bayern Munich in their 1-0 Champions League final loss early yesterday.

PSG’s Qatari owners spent a combined EUR402 million on the pair in 2017 to win this competition.

However, they struggled to impose themselves on the German giants who have now won Europe’s top prize on six occasions.

Neymar, the world’s most expensive footballer, ended the night with a yellow card and in floods of tears.

“We want Neymar and Kylian to score but we can’t ask for it all the time,” said Tuchel.

“I am proud because ‘Ney’ still had a match with an incredible capacity, he showed his mentality.

PSG head coach Thomas Tuchel clasps hands with Neymar after their team loss against Bayern Munich in the Champions League final match. PHOTO: AP

“For Kylian it was difficult, he suffered a serious injury, missed a lot of training. It was a miracle that he was with us at all.”

Mbappe had a great chance to score but shot straight at goalkeeper Manuel Neuer just before half-time.

As it was, Kingsley Coman, for whom PSG was his boyhood club, grabbed the only goal in the second half.

“I am convinced that if we had scored the first goal, we’d win the game 1-0,” added Tuchel. “I had the impression that the first goal would decide the fate of this final. We have to keep this quality to continue on this road.”

But will he still be in charge when PSG open their new season in the coming week?

“I have a contract, I don’t know anything else.”

PSG President Nasser al-Khelaifi insisted the Champions League remains within their grasp.

“I am very proud of my players,” said the Qatari. “We had a great season, a great tournament here. Nobody thought we would go to the final.

“We were very close to winning, we did everything to win, but that’s football. We will work next season to win the Champions League because that is our goal.”

PSG midfielder Ander Herrera admitted losing the final was tough to take but insisted the mega-rich French club cannot put their achievements “in the trash”.

“We have built something important. We have to stay together and start the next dream next week,” said Spanish international Herrera of a team who have won seven of the last eight Ligue 1 titles.

“There are no words. Tomorrow we’ll think about what we did, the squad we built, the things we did together.”