Tuchel defends beleaguered star after post-match rant

Neymar had a very unhappy reaction to his side’s loss and vented on social media about the same

Paris Saint-Germain head coach Thomas Tuchel leapt to the defence of star player Neymar after the Brazilian’s an angry response to the penalty awarded to Manchester United on Wednesday. PSG exited the Champions League early in the knockouts yet again, in the last 16 stage this time, after a 3-1 loss at home to United, crashing out on away goals following a 3-3 aggregate draw.

Marcus Rashford slammed home a a 94th-minute penalty for the visitors after Presnel Kimpembe was ruled to have handled in the area, with the referee awarding the spot-kick after referring to the big screen as part of the VAR setup. Neymar, out thanks to a foot injury, went on Instagram and shared stories post the game where he blasted the decision in a profane-laden rant , calling it a “disgrace” and saying the handball “simply doesn’t exist!”

And Tuchel felt that it was only natural for the former Barcelona star to react angrily after a difficult defeat. “Sometimes when you remember yourself in a big, big fight and you remember being very emotional you use words and you react in a way that you take back some hours later,” he told reporters.

“You see how emotional he is and how he lives with us and how badly he wanted to help us and Ney, coming back — latest in the quarterfinals — and coming today and biting his nails for every game we play without him. So don’t be too harsh on him. It’s, like I said, hard to accept for all of us who could not play and could do nothing. I would not over-interpret the use of his words in the heat of the challenge and the moment of the decision. It’s quickly typed into a smartphone.”

And in some positive news for Tuchel, Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser Al-Khelaifi showed his backing for his manager following the disappointing loss. “I trust the coach,” he said, via L’Equipe.

“We will see his decision if he wants to change or if he does not change, but it’s not because we lose a match that we have to act now. We must make decisions with a cool head, but this is not the moment. We want to calm down. We want to see what the coach wants too. It’s very important.”

Authors take

It is natural for a player to feel aggrieved at what he and many of the rest of the world’s fans have perceived as a wrong decision that cost his team yet again in the Champions League. Neymar must have felt even more helpless for he was not there to help his teammates put the tie to bed when they had all those chances and were 2-0 up after the first leg away, and that must have led to him snapping post the game. But such actions are best avoided by players for in today’s word of social media driven news and content, one wrong move can tarnish an image or even lead to being sacked from the club itself, though a player of Neymar’s standing will not befall such a fate considering the amount of cash his club has splurged on him.

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