Tuchel Defends Decision to Not Play Neymar Leading Up to Dortmund Match

Neymar Jr. wanted to play before the UEFA Champions League match against Borussia Dortmund last Tuesday but he was held out for four matches due to a rib injury.

The decision had a distinct impact on Neymar. He did score a goal, assisted by Kylian Mbappé, but he failed to impact the match overall after being sidelined for 17 days and PSG ultimately lost 2-1 at Signal Iduna Park.

Neymar lacked match fitness and rhythm and when you combine that with the unfamiliar formation that manager Thomas Tuchel opted for, a 3-4-3, it’s no wonder that the 28-year-old looked clueless at times on the pitch.

On Sunday, PSG welcomes Girondins de Bordeaux to the Parc des Princes for a Ligue 1 battle and Neymar will likely start. At his pre-match press conference, Tuchel was asked if he thought it was a mistake to protect his star player leading up to such an important match.

“Imagine if we let him play and then the injury was worse and he would have been injured for three months. You would have asked the same question, whether it was a mistake to play. We cannot wait for it to happen and then say that it was our fault. We have to understand why we make these decisions.”

“We talked about it a lot, and it is the same with all my players, and with Neymar as well, obviously. I wanted to play every game. I didn’t want to play against Lyon and Dijon without him, but we have a responsibility. We have to make the decision together, myself, the club, the medical staff, and the player. That is the decision we made.”

While Neymar didn’t agree with the decision, as he expressed after the loss to Dortmund, his national team manager did.

“I understand that the club did not want to take the risk of injuring its most important player,” Tite said in a recent interview.

With four games to play before the return match against Dortmund, we should see Neymar start for PSG plenty but as always with the Brazilian, injury is always on the minds of management and fans.

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Tags Borussia Dortmund Champions League Kylian Mbappé Neymar Thomas Tuchel
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