Paris Saint-Germain left-back Juan Bernat has been ruled out by manager Thomas Tuchel (via RMC Sport) for the upcoming Coupe de France final against AS Saint-Etienne.
Bernat did not appear in any of PSG’s recent trio of friendly wins. He has been dealing with muscle fatigue following the lengthy months-long break in action. Thus, Tuchel and the coaching staff have been playing it safe with his health and keeping him away from featuring in any competitive action.
With the Spanish defender not deemed ready for in-game action, Tuchel decided it was best to keep him out for the cup final later this week. He spoke following the team’s 4-0 friendly win over Celtic FC on the reasoning behind the decision and hope for him moving forward.
“Bernat did not play today,” Tuchel said. “It means that it is not possible for him to play in the cup final. We have to continue the preparation phase with him. I hope he will be able to practice tomorrow or the day after tomorrow or at the latest after the final, to arrive for the second final against Lyon.”
With Bernat unavailable, this will leave Tuchel with two options for the starting left-back role against Saint-Etienne: Mitchel Bakker and Layvin Kurzawa. The latter would be usually deemed as the clear choice, especially for a cup-deciding match. But due to the recent lack of preparation from the Frenchman, Tuchel is slightly giving the edge to Bakker but still has not made a final decision.
“Mitchel Bakker has the advantage of never having been injured,” Tuchel said. “He has done all the training. He has the physical advantage. Layvin missed a few training sessions because of a small injury in the back. He missed four or five days, that’s a lot in a short preparation phase. I’m glad Layvin played against Beveren and Celtic. I’m confident in both. We’ll make the decision of who starts on Thursday, after the last workout.”
Bakker started in all three friendly fixtures for PSG over the past couple of weeks. If Tuchel decides to roll him out for the cup final, it would be a grand test for him and the biggest game of his career to date.
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