‘We Do Not Play Tennis, We Play Football’ – Tuchel Frustrated With Mbappé’s Sideline Outburst

You wouldn’t think that a player who scored a goal in a 5-0 route at home would be unhappy about being taken off in the 68th minute but that’s Kylian Mbappé for you.

The 21-year-old Frenchman was visibly upset with manager Thomas Tuchel for taking him off early and the two could be seen locked in a heated discussion with their hands over their mouths attempting to block lip-readers from understanding what was being said. Unfortunately for them, their body language told us everything.

Mbappé eventually made it past his manager and stormed up the stairs to find his seat on the bench and sulked like a child who had just been told he had to share his toys.

Replacing Mbappé was Mauro Icardi and Edinson Cavani also came on for Pablo Sarabia. So, it’s not like he was taken off for some fringe player no one ever heard of.

Icardi is absolutely deserving of playing time and whether you agree with his transfer request or not, Cavani is a club legend and deserves to get some minutes. Mbappé’s temper tantrum was disrespectful to not only his manager but to those two players as well.

FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images

After the match, Tuchel spoke to Canal+ (via Culture PSG) and had some strong words for his star player.

“I am the coach, someone has to decide who goes out and who comes in and it is me. He [Mbappé] is very intelligent and knows what he is doing. He does not like going out but no player likes going out and these are not good pictures but we are not the only club to have this player reaction. I also saw it in Dortmund today, I saw it in Liverpool and Manchester City. I watch a lot of football and I have seen a lot of reactions like that.”

Tuchel also commented on how Mbappé’s actions affect the entire team.

“It is not good because it opens a discussion and subjects which are a distraction to our state of mind, because this team shows all together with Kylian, a very professional and very focused mindset. This subject always gives a little impression that it is not the case and it is a pity. I am not angry, I am sad about this situation because it is not necessary. But that’s the situation and I explained to him why we did it and it will stay like that. It will stay that way, I will always decide things sportingly and we do not play tennis, we play football and we must, therefore, have respect for everyone.”

Finally, Tuchel didn’t rule out the possibility that Mbappé could be punished for his actions.

“I don’t know, I will decide. I have to sleep a little and think. Afterward, I will make a decision tomorrow…I will decide if I speak about this thing, if I speak individually or if I do not speak about it. It depends on whether I sleep well or not.”

This is a very delicate situation for Tuchel. If any other player behaved like this I have no doubt he would punish them, but, because it’s Mbappé, the German has to tread carefully as to not alienate the Frenchman.

That said, Mbappé cannot continue to act like this every time he is taken off early in a match. He did it before in a match against Montpellier last December. It makes PSG, Tuchel, and himself look amateurish and the manager will be wise to handle the situation behind closed doors and not feed the media with drama-filled evenings.

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Tags Edinson Cavani Kylian Mbappé Ligue 1 Mauro Icardi Montpellier Thomas Tuchel
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