Maybe no one else will say it, but I will. Maintaining the health of Neymar Jr., Kylian Mbappé and the rest of the Fantastic Four is more important than advancing in the Coupe de France.
On Sunday, Paris Saint-Germain takes on FC Lorient in the Round of 32 of the Coupe de France at the Stade du Moustoir, a pitch notorious for is blend of natural grass and synthetic materials.
“The problems of the Moustoir started in the summer of 2018. The scorching weather and the Lorient Interceltic Festival completely destroyed the hybrid pitch, bringing it a devastating fungus despite the presence of a tarp.”
Due to the amount of rain that fell on the pitch, the club decided to sand the pitch to help “aerate the soil and dry the surface.” Unfortunately, that turned out to be a bad choice as the rain slowed down and now, the pitch is full of sand because it didn’t wash down as expected.
“I saw that it was perhaps not the same quality as that of the Parc des Princes,” Tuchel said. “But in the Cup, it is like that and it is also a quality to adapt to this kind of circumstance even if it is clearly not an advantage for us.”
Tuchel has to be smart here. Even with several absences due to injury, he still has plenty of players he can choose from to field a starting lineup without the Fantastic Four and Thiago Silva playing.
If PSG were to advance past Lorient but Neymar went down with an ankle injury, which one do you think will be talked about more? Do you think supporters will be OK with a serious injury because they’re one step closer to another Coupe de France title? The answer is no.
The mission this season is the UEFA Champions League and maintaining health until then. I proposed some kind of load management for PSG’s best players but if Tuchel feels he needs to play his best players to maintain form, I understand that. However, he cannot take an unnecessary risk by playing them against a Ligue 2 side on a pitch that could cause a season-ending injury.
After tomorrow’s match, PSG has six matches until they travel to Germany to battle Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League Round of 16. The French giants will need all hands on deck, which is why Tuchel should leave his best on the bench.
Want more PSG? Visit the PSG Talk Podcast Network page and subscribe to PSG Talking, The 1970, and 24th & Parc.