Paris Saint-Germain head coach Thomas Tuchel is a worried man.
He’s worried because over the coming months, his reputation and career is on the line. He’s worried because he doesn’t have the explicit support of his employers. And he’s worried because his team is dependent on the success of a couple of superstars both of whom are laid up injured.
For Wednesday’s key Champions League meeting away to RB Leipzig, he will not be able to call upon either Neymar or Kylian Mbappe. The absence of the Brazilian was one that the Parisians were braced for after he sustained a groin injury, but the failure of the World Cup winner to travel to Germany was somewhat of a surprise.
In football, it always falls on the greatest players because they will always play for their country.
“They play during the break, they travel and that’s too much in my opinion. They don’t have a recovery phase to allow them to come back and a preparation phase.
“That is not a secret, it happens in sport. Preparation influences injuries and performance.
“Without preparation, players are more fragile and difficult to manage. This is not an excuse, this is the truth. We are going to look for solutions and I hope we will find some.”
If the injury was not something that Tuchel had been expecting, it was certainly something that he feared.
“We’re going to kill the players,” he warned 24 hours before Mbappe left Stade de la Beaujoire grimacing.
“That’s what I’ve always said. We are going to kill them because there is an important link between preparation, performance and rest.