Pochettino hopeful of having Neymar available for Coupe de France final

By Sports Desk May 18, 2021

Mauricio Pochettino hopes to have Neymar available for Wednesday's Coupe de France final after Paris Saint-Germain appealed against the forward's suspension.

Neymar was booked four minutes after being brought off the bench in last week's eventful 2-2 semi-final draw with Montpellier, which PSG won 6-5 on penalties to progress.

That triggered a one-match ban linked to a pre-existing suspended sentence, having also sat out two matches after being sent off against Lille last month.

The Brazil international hit out at the decision on social media, but PSG may yet have Neymar – plus defender Presnel Kimpembe – in their squad to face Monaco.

PSG are awaiting a decision from the relevant authorities and Pochettino insists his side's plans will not be disrupted either way.

"We don't know if they will be available, but we hope so. We will see in the next few hours if we can count on them," Pochettino said at Tuesday's pre-match news conference.

"We are awaiting a decision and will prepare as normal. I will pick my team tomorrow. The rest does not change."

PSG lost both league meetings with Monaco this season – 3-2 in November and 2-0 at home in February – and the two sides are involved in a thrilling Ligue 1 title battle.

Reigning champions PSG are second in the standings heading into the final set of fixtures, with leaders Lille one point better off and Monaco two points further back in a three-way race.

Pochettino faces a huge week in his first half-season at the Parc des Princes, with Wednesday's clash against in-form Monaco at the Stade de France followed by a league trip to Brest.

"We are coming to the end of the season and have two games that we must win – they are both finals," Pochettino said. 

"We don't need any extra motivation, and the physical aspect will not be a problem for us. There is a good atmosphere in the camp as we are close to two titles.

"Monaco deserve credit for their wins against us and they are a physically strong team with a lot of qualities.

"I think we deserved better in the last game between us, but they have played well. It is a final and I hope now the result will be different."

Pochettino took over from Thomas Tuchel in the Parc des Princes dugout in January and he lifted the Trophee des Champions in his third game in charge.

That was the first trophy the former Espanyol, Southampton and Tottenham boss has won and he is relaxed ahead of his side's latest final.

"I am a calm coach. I don't have much excitement beforehand," said Pochettino, who was a beaten finalist with Tottenham in the 2018-19 Champions League.

"We know our responsibilities and want to be as efficient as possible. I have confidence in the team and we will prepare in the right way for this final."

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