Thomas Tuchel said Paris Saint-Germain needed to remain confident and retain belief in their Champions League chances after an impressive win over Dijon.

PSG have faced criticism in the wake of their 2-1 loss to Borussia Dortmund in the last-16 first leg, but crushed Dijon 4-0 on Saturday.

Tuchel said there was no reason to begin doubting his PSG side, who hold a 13-point lead atop Ligue 1.

"The players want to prove that they are able to take a step forward, that too many criticisms have been said," the PSG coach told a news conference.

"They are having a consistent season, with many wins, with good performances, professional performances, strong performances. They deserved their victories. There were only few draws and one defeat.

"We can't lose confidence in this team, we can't lose confidence in this group. There are two games [first leg and second leg]. The players want to play the second leg. They want to prove what they can do.

"They started to show their abilities in training sessions this week, they showed it in this game, they will continue next Wednesday [in a Coupe de France semi-final against Lyon]."

Kylian Mbappe scored a brace against Dijon to go with goals from Pablo Sarabia and Mauro Icardi, while Angel Di Maria was substituted after just 17 minutes.

Tuchel played down any concerns over Di Maria and said he was "confident" the attacker would face Lyon.

The injury comes less than two weeks out from the second leg against Dortmund in Paris, although fears over the coronavirus continue to impact sporting events.

PSG defender Marquinhos has no interest in playing the second leg behind closed doors, saying it would be better to postpone the clash.

"Playing without fans would be a shame. I think it would be better to cancel the game. They had their fans at home. We want our fans at home," he said.

"I hope it won't happen. If a decision is made to play behind closed doors, we will ask to cancel the game, to play later in front of our fans."

Paris Saint-Germain forward Neymar was exempt from blame for his sending off in a 4-3 win over Bordeaux on Sunday after head coach Thomas Tuchel refused to criticise a reckless tackle.

Brazil international Neymar was shown a second yellow card for a late challenge on Bordeaux's Yacine Adli in added time of the Ligue 1 clash at the Parc des Princes.

The 28-year-old had an angry exchange with referee Willy Delajod and then appeared to sarcastically applaud the officials as he left the pitch.

However, Tuchel believed Neymar's reaction was a natural one given he felt the PSG player had been fouled beforehand by Bordeaux's Youssouf Sabaly.

Neymar is now set to miss PSG's next Ligue 1 fixture at home to Dijon on Saturday.

"We have to talk about the whole situation," Tuchel said of Neymar's challenge in his post-match media conference.

"He is nervous and he reacts. It is human. He must not, but it is human. And the Bordeaux player does not even get a yellow card."

PSG secured the points after a chaotic win thanks to two goals from Marquinhos and one apiece for Edinson Cavani – his 200th in all competitions for the club – and Kylian Mbappe.

It helped PSG increase their lead to 13 points over second-placed Marseille at the top of Ligue 1.

And Tuchel acknowledged the win helped boost morale as they produced a positive reaction to a 2-1 defeat to Borussia Dortmund in the first leg of their last-16 Champions League tie.

"The victory is the most important thing now because there are things to improve, it is clear," added the German coach.

"The players lack a little confidence after a defeat. It's like that. We can see that a lot of teams in Europe after a defeat it's always a little difficult to regain spirit and confidence."

Brazilian defender Marquinhos feels PSG must work hard to improve their defensive performances after leaking seven goals in their past two Ligue 1 games.

"On the one hand we are really very strong offensively, but on the other we concede a lot of goals," he told Canal+.

"As defenders we really have to think about what we can do best. In this match it was mainly on set-pieces. We really have to work better collectively."

Neymar saw red as Paris Saint-Germain moved 13 points clear at top of Ligue 1 after Edinson Cavani's 200th goal for the club helped them to a 4-3 win over Bordeaux on Sunday.

Hwang Ui-jo gave Bordeaux a surprise lead before Cavani equalised for PSG with his landmark strike at the Parc des Princes.

The hosts went ahead when Marquinhos chested the ball home but Bordeaux levelled through Pablo following a mistake by PSG goalkeeper Sergio Rico.

Marquinhos and Kylian Mbappe both finished clinically to put Thomas Tuchel's side in command, although Ruben Pardo reduced the deficit to set up a tense finish and Neymar was dismissed for a second booking late on.

 

Thomas Tuchel admitted he was "very surprised" by leaked footage that showed Paris Saint-Germain's players partying into the early hours of the morning this week.

A number of PSG's first-team stars attended a lavish joint-birthday party for Edinson Cavani, Mauro Icardi and Angel Di Maria in Paris on Thursday.

The extravagant bash was held two days after the French champions' 2-1 loss to Borussia Dortmund in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie.

Footage on social media showed some players, including forward Neymar, topless and bouncing around the room.

And with a Ligue 1 clash against Bordeaux to come on Sunday, Tuchel has questioned the actions of his players.

"I was really surprised yesterday afternoon when watching the video," he said at Saturday's pre-match news conference. 

"You can be sure that we talked internally. I don't want to talk about it now, but we talked about it within the club and it has to stay that way."

He added: "You can be sure that we are not happy with this image. We talked together as a team and it is now an internal matter.

"I am here to improve my group. I cannot give advice to the club, that is not my role."

Marquinhos was in attendance at the exclusive Pavillon Dauphine and defended the decision to throw the triple birthday party.

"The leaked footage was a mistake," he told reporters. "However, it had been planned for a long time. We needed to get together. 

"We must be careful, though, as there are people who travel miles to follow us.

"There has been frustration at the result and poor performance [against Dortmund]. We know our strengths, especially at home.We must work hard and with a good mentality."

Neymar suggested after the loss to Dortmund that he has been unhappy with PSG's management of his rib injury, insisting he was ready to return to action earlier.

However, Tuchel has reiterated that he cannot risk the Brazil international's fitness at a key point in the season.

"As I said before, it was a discussion between the club, medical staff and myself. With each injury we have to make many decisions, that's the way it is," he said.

"Imagine if we let him play, the injury got worse and he was out for three months. You would have asked the same questions, whether it was a mistake to play him.

"We have to think about why we are making these decisions and you have to trust me. We have talked a lot and it is the same with every player.

"Obviously I want him to play every game and we have to make decisions together. This is the decision we made between us. Now he needs to regain his rhythm."

Tuchel also confirmed Thomas Meunier and Colin Dagba are out of Sunday's clash with Bordeaux at the Parc des Princes, where he is hoping for a quick response from his side.

"It is never easy to start again after a defeat, but that is the challenge," he said. "I have the impression that all the players want to prove themselves.

"Sometimes the players are more competitive when things aren't comfortable. That is exactly the mindset we are looking for."

Marquinhos warned Paris Saint-Germain's attitude must be spot-on at Borussia Dortmund after they stumbled to a 4-4 draw against Amiens on Saturday.

A shabby performance from the Ligue 1 leaders was not the way in which Thomas Tuchel's side wanted to prepare for Tuesday's Champions League last-16 match in Germany.

There seems no prospect of PSG losing their grip on top spot domestically; however, their burning ambition is to succeed in Europe.

And a repeat of the display at Amiens would almost certainly be punished ruthlessly by Dortmund, who have the likes of Erling Haaland and Jadon Sancho in their ranks.

Defender Marquinhos came off the bench at Amiens where PSG trailed 3-1 and turned the game around to lead 4-3, before shipping a late equaliser to a team who have not won in the league since November.

Brazil international Marquinhos, fit again after a hamstring injury, said: "We saw that if we aren't focused at the start of a game, we can concede goals and that could cost us dearly in the end.

"We need to keep in mind the team's good reaction, because it was important to get back on level terms. It shows you have to keep your concentration right to the end, because if you just drop off for just a second, you concede a goal at the end of the game."

Marquinhos told PSG's website: "It was important for me to play again, to get back into things ahead of the important game coming up. I'm very happy to have managed that before the big match ahead of us.

"We now have to turn to Dortmund, we have to think about playing well, and that we're all 100 per cent there, even if there have been some difficult situations before that game. We need to have a good attitude to put in a good performance."

Neymar out of PSG v Lyon

February 08, 2020

Paris Saint-Germain will once again be without Neymar when they face Lyon on Sunday and Juan Bernat also remains sidelined due to illness.

Neymar suffered a rib injury during a 5-0 thrashing of Montpellier last weekend and sat out the 2-1 victory at Nantes on Tuesday, having thrown a lavish party 48 hours earlier to celebrate his 28th birthday.

He trained on Friday, but PSG boss Thomas Tuchel revealed the former Barcelona man will not feature in the Ligue 1 clash with Rudi Garcia's side at the Parc des Princes.

Bernat has recovered from a calf injury, but the full-back misses out after falling ill. 

Thiago Silva is not ready to return from a hip problem, although the centre-back has also been able to resume training this week and the same goes for fellow defenders Marquinhos (calf) and Abdou Diallo (thigh).

Colin Dagba is another player unavailable to Tuchel due to a knee injury as PSG look to extend their unbeaten run to 21 matches in all competitions. 

The champions are 12 points clear of Marseille at the top of the table.

Paris Saint-Germain defender Marquinhos will be out for close to a month after injuring his hamstring in the Coupe de la Ligue win over Reims.

The Brazilian scored the opener in PSG's routine 3-0 semi-final victory on Wednesday but was forced from the pitch with around 20 minutes remaining.

He looks set to miss Ligue 1 games against Lille, Montpellier, Nantes and Lyon, plus next week's Coupe de France date with third-tier Pau.

In a statement, PSG announced: "Marquinhos suffered a hamstring injury on Wednesday at the Stade Auguste Delaune, and examinations confirmed a lesion of the biceps femoris.

"He is expected to be unavailable for three weeks."

PSG will hope to have the 25-year-old fully fit for the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie against Borussia Dortmund on February 18.

Thomas Tuchel did not expect a free-flowing Paris Saint-Germain display against Reims but was satisfied with his team's display as the Ligue 1 leaders booked their place in the Coupe de la Ligue final.

PSG were 3-0 winners at Stade Auguste-Delaune on Wednesday, with Marquinhos opening the scoring prior to a Ghislain Konan own goal – substitute Nianzou Kouassi rounding off the win with what was the capital club's 4,000th competitive goal.

Lyon await in April's final, as PSG look to claim their ninth Coupe de la Ligue title. Though it was far from a vintage display, head coach Tuchel had no problems with his side scrapping it out at times against Reims, who have had the best defence in Ligue 1 so far this term.

"We made the efforts defensively, it was necessary. Who has a lot of chances against Reims? Nobody," Tuchel told Canal+.

"We took advantage of the set-pieces, it is part of the game, and we found a little more space in the second half. We played with seriousness, patience and efficiency, that's good."

Marquinhos was a star performer for PSG, though he was forced off midway through the second half with a problem that Tuchel confirmed is a recurrence of the groin injury which kept him out of the previous two matches against Lorient and Monaco.

"Marquinhos? He felt something, I hope it's not too serious, it's the same area that is affected," Tuchel added.

Presnel Kimpembe partnered Marquinhos at the back and the France international believes a meeting with Lyon will prove to be a fitting finale for the Coupe de la Ligue, which has been scrapped ahead of next season.

"It was not an easy match but we were able to play with quality, desire, and hold the score until the end," Kimpembe told Canal+.

"It was complicated, but the most important thing was qualifying. A final against Lyon – I don't know if it's the dream final, but it's a great poster!"

Paris Saint-Germain have the chance to regain the Coupe de la Ligue title after defeating 10-man Reims 3-0 to set up a final against Lyon, scoring their 4,000th goal in the process.

PSG were five-time defending champions when they were beaten by eventual runners up Guingamp in the quarters last season, but Thomas Tuchel's side had little trouble in progressing to their first final of the season on Wednesday.

Having had to wait until late on in their scrappy Coupe de France win over Lorient on Sunday, PSG had things far easier from the off thanks to Marquinhos' early header. 

Ghislain Konan's own goal doubled PSG's tally, with Marshall Munetsi's red card reducing Reims to 10 men before substitute Nianzou Kouassi bundled in the capital club's landmark competitive goal to wrap up the win in style.

Having made a vital last-ditch block as PSG withstood some early pressure, Marquinhos made his mark at the other end in the ninth minute, rising highest to head home Neymar's cross.

Kylian Mbappe wanted a penalty moments later, though referee Mikael Lesage rightly judged Reims goalkeeper Predrag Rajkovic to have made no contact.

PSG had their second just after the half hour – the unfortunate Konan only able to divert Neymar's brilliant free-kick into his own side's net.

Chasing a club record, Neymar curled wide from the edge of the box on the hour, though Keylor Navas had to keep out Boulaye Dia's effort soon after, with PSG then losing Marquinhos to injury.

Reims' task was made tougher when Munetsi was sent off for a lunge on Marco Verratti, however, and it was Marquinhos' replacement Kouassi who was on hand to deal the final blow from close range after Rajkovic repelled Leandro Paredes' volley.

With tempers boiling over, Rajkovic was fortunate not to join Munetsi in seeing red when he lashed out at Mbappe as PSG cruised into the final.

What does it mean? Last Coupe de la Ligue final sees heavyweights meet

April's final will be the last of the Coupe de la Ligue, with the competition having been scrapped ahead of next season.

PSG v Lyon should prove to be a fitting finale, though – the capital club have won the tournament a record eight times, while seven-time Ligue 1 champions Lyon are looking for just their second Coupe de la Ligue title, having previously triumphed in 2000-01.

Captain Marquinhos leads by example

Marquinhos has been struggling with an injury in recent weeks, but returned to PSG's line-up as skipper at Stade Auguste-Delaune and put in an imperious display at the back, capping it off with a fine header for the visitors' opener at the other end. However, his night was marred by an injury, which forced him off midway through the second half.

No record for Neymar

Having scored in eight successive appearances, Neymar was on the verge of setting a new club record for a longest scoring streak. Despite playing a key part in both of PSG's first-half goals, the forward was unable to find the net himself as the chance to put his name into the PSG record books went begging.

What's next?

Both sides return to Ligue 1 action at the weekend, with PSG travelling to Lille on Sunday, a day after Reims host Metz.

Paris Saint-Germain have handed defender Marquinhos a new four-and-a-half-year contract.

The Brazil international has committed to the French champions until 2024, a two-year extension to his current deal.

Marquinhos is the club's vice-captain behind compatriot and fellow centre-back Thiago Silva.

He joined the club from Roma in July 2013 and has helped PSG to five Ligue 1 titles over that span.

The club confirmed the extension on Monday, calling him "one of the most successful players in the history of Paris Saint-Germain".

Marquinhos said: "Paris and PSG have every argument for me to stay here and extend my contract.

"It's an ambitious club that still wants to do great things, making football and club history.

"Then there's the city side, the family side. My family is really very, very good here.

"I really feel at home here, I've got everything I need right here, and so that's why the choice is quick.

"This is the seventh season. Six-and-a-half years since I signed, I look back and see how much PSG and I have accomplished.

"We've done great things. I think it's really a very special club. We just have to keep living this beautiful story together."

Marquinhos, who has also won four Coupe de France trophies and five Coupe de la Ligue medals, has racked up 270 appearances for PSG, chipping in with 20 goals and providing seven assists.

PSG signed midfielder Marco Verratti to a new long-term deal in October and are in negotiations with attacking star Kylian Mbappe as they bid to tie down the core of their team.

Could Chelsea gazump their Premier League rivals in the race for Jadon Sancho?

According to reports, the Blues are working on a club-record deal for the Borussia Dortmund winger.

Frank Lampard was among Sancho's idols growing up and the Chelsea boss has been open about his desire to bring in a replacement for Eden Hazard.

 

TOP STORY – SANCHO SET FOR STAMFORD BRIDGE?

Chelsea could celebrate the end of their transfer ban by splashing out £120million to secure Borussia Dortmund and England star Jadon Sancho, according to The Sun.

The huge price tag attached to one of Europe's brightest prospects has reportedly quashed Liverpool's interest and Manchester United are also said to be at risk of missing out on a long-term target.

The Sun claims Chelsea head coach Lampard believes Sancho, 19, can be the man to fill the attacking void left by Hazard's close-season departure to Real Madrid.

Sancho has scored nine Bundesliga goals this season and hit eight in seven games across all competitions prior to Dortmund's 2-1 defeat to Hoffenheim on Friday.

 

ROUND-UP

- LaLiga giants Real Madrid and Premier League champions Manchester City are monitoring Marquinhos' contract impasse at Paris Saint-Germain, writes Le 10 Sport. The Ligue 1 leaders are reportedly unwilling to meet the Brazilian's financial demands as they seek to extend his deal beyond 2022.

- There is a "big question mark" hanging over Paco Alcacer's future at Dortmund as the striker struggles to carve out a regular Bundesliga starting spot, reports Ruhr Nachrichten.

- Tottenham have opened talks over a January move for Flamengo midfielder Gerson, says 90min. The 22-year-old started for Flamengo in their Club World Cup final loss to Liverpool on Saturday.

- Barcelona included Arturo Vidal in their starting XI against Deportivo Alaves on Sunday and are now seemingly determined to block his expected Camp Nou exit. According to Mundo Deportivo, the Chilean's agent has met with club executives in a bid to secure a mid-season switch to Serie A, where Inter are rumoured to be his strongest suitors, but €20m will not be enough to do a deal.

- The Nerazzurri's city rivals might have more success in making a midfield acquisition. La Gazzetta dello Sport claims Stefano Pioli's Milan are interested in United outcast Nemanja Matic, who has been linked to Inter.

Jose Mourinho looks set to play the waiting game at Tottenham despite the looming threat of key player departures.

According to reports, Mourinho will not be spooked into a January spending spree even as Spurs consider selling out-of-contract stars to Premier League rivals.

The head coach does, however, have two England Under-19 internationals in his sights.

 

TOP STORY – MOURINHO TREATING TRANSFERS WITH CAUTION

Tottenham will make transfer funds available in January but Mourinho is set to put his squad overhaul on hold, according to the Daily Mail.

Christian Eriksen, Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen can all walk out on the club at the end of the season and chairman Daniel Levy has said he is prepared to make deals with other Premier League teams.

The state of flux has reportedly motivated Mourinho to leave his rebuilding efforts until the campaign is complete, although the former Manchester United and Real Madrid boss remains open to sensible short-term spending.

Spurs are said to have scouted Norwich City right-back Max Aarons and West Brom's Nathan Ferguson as they look for a challenger to Serge Aurier.

ROUND-UP

- Liverpool should announce the capture of Salzburg winger Takumi Minamino before the weekend, writes the the Independent.

- Mikel Arteta appears set to take charge of Arsenal and Manchester City, where he has worked as an assistant since 2016, are "furious" with the Gunners' lack of communication, according to The Guardian.

- Managerial movements are happening elsewhere in the Premier League. The Mirror claims ex-Milan and Chelsea coach Carlo Ancelotti has agreed a three-and-a-half year deal worth £11.5million per season with Everton.

- Europe's top clubs are monitoring Paris Saint-Germain centre-back Marquinhos amid a breakdown in negotiations over a contract extension with the Ligue 1 leaders, says Le 10 Sport.

- Bayern Munich are now considering whether to bring forward their planned close-season bid for Leroy Sane after the City winger expressed a desire to join the Bundesliga giants in January, reports Bild.

- Fenerbahce have expressed interest in rumoured Napoli and Schalke target Ricardo Rodriguez, claims CalcioMercato. The Switzerland left-back has started four times for Milan in Serie A this season.

Paris Saint-Germain have hit out at "immature" criticism of Marquinhos after they allowed him to miss Saturday's match at Montpellier for the birth of his second child.

A discussion on programme L'Equipe du Soir involving host Olivier Menard and former Auxerre boss Guy Roux questioned why the Brazil international should miss the Ligue 1 game.

In one exchange, Roux, 81, said: "Are the men giving birth now? Is there is no doctor in Paris for this lady to give birth?"

Marquinhos, meanwhile, posted on social media to confirm Enrico had been born on Friday, describing his birth as a "blessing" while calling his wife Carol Cabrino "a warrior".

L'Equipe du Soir issued an apology on Saturday on behalf of Menard and his panellists, some of whom had laughed and joined in with the discussion, adding their congratulations to the player.

But that did not stop PSG from making clear their displeasure with the situation.

"His wife was in the hospital for two days waiting to give birth, the club decided that Marqui stays with her," PSG's statement on Saturday read.

"The club also conveys all its congratulations and wishes of happiness to Marqui and his wife, who gave birth yesterday afternoon to their second child.

"It is with dismay that we heard the immature and hurtful remarks made yesterday in L'Equipe du Soir. 

"Coming from people who give us year-round lessons on the values of sport and life, we are surprised by the mediocrity of these remarks."

PSG added: "Very happy for you Marquinhos, as well as for the mother. Enjoy this new moment of happiness with your family."

Marquinhos, 25, also has a two-year-old daughter named Maria.

He has played in 13 of PSG's 15 league games this season, including Wednesday's 2-0 home win over Nantes.

Barcelona forward Antoine Griezmann has been voted 18th in the final list for the 2019 Ballon d'Or, a fall of 15 places from last year.

Griezmann finished behind only Luka Modric and Cristiano Ronaldo 12 months ago after winning the World Cup with France and impressing for Atletico Madrid at club level.

However, an underwhelming end to his Atletico career and a tough start to life at Barcelona - who he joined in a €120million deal in July - has seen him drop down the list.

It marks the second time the 28-year-old has slipped from third to 18th, having done likewise in 2017.

Griezmann's Barcelona team-mate Marc-Andre ter Stegen finished 24th and Frenkie de Jong, who spent the first half of the year with Champions League semi-finalists Ajax, was voted 11th in the standings.

Three Liverpool players missed out on the top 10, with Georginio Wijnaldum, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Roberto Firmino in 26th, 19th and 17th, respectively.

Fellow Premier League side Manchester City were also heavily represented in the 30-11 rankings, as were Dutch champions Ajax following their run to the final four of last season's Champions League.

Lionel Messi and Virgil van Dijk are the frontrunners to win the most prestigious individual accolade in world football during Monday's ceremony.

Ballon d'Or 30-11 list in full:

=28. Marquinhos (Paris Saint-Germain)

=28. Donny van de Beek (Ajax)

=28. Joao Felix (Atletico Madrid)

=26. Georginio Wijnaldum (Liverpool)

=26. Karim Benzema (Real Madrid)

=24. Kalidou Koulibaly (Napoli)

=24. Marc-Andre ter Stegen (Barcelona)

23. Hugo Lloris (Tottenham)

22. Son Heung-min (Tottenham)

=20. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal)

=20. Dusan Tadic (Ajax)

19. Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool)

18. Antoine Griezmann (Barcelona)

17. Roberto Firmino (Liverpool)

16. Sergio Aguero (Manchester City)

15. Matthijs de Ligt (Ajax)

14. Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)

13. Eden Hazard (Real Madrid)

12. Raheem Sterling (Manchester City)

11. Frenkie de Jong (Barcelona)

Marquinhos warned Paris Saint-Germain to expect more ambushes of the kind that saw them suffer a shock 2-1 defeat to struggling Dijon on Friday.

The Ligue 1 leaders opened the scoring against the run of play through Kylian Mbappe before being punished for a below-par display at Stade Gaston Gerard.

Mounir Chouiar equalised deep into first-half stoppage time and Jhonder Cadiz competed the quickfire comeback moments after the restart as Dijon, bottom of the table at the start of the match, secured just their third victory of the season.

The upset brought PSG's impressive six-match winning streak in all competitions to a shuddering halt and prompted centre-back Marquinhos to deliver words of caution.

"We know what it means for the other teams to play against PSG. We are the team to beat in France," the Brazilian said.

"The other teams are happy when they get a good result against us. It's a different game for the other teams and we have to understand that. We must not be surprised as we were today.

"We need to be focused from the beginning of the game. We started well with the goal but then there were substitutions and breaks in play. I think we relaxed at that point."

PSG eventually started to find fluency in the second half and would have rescued at least a point had Mauro Icardi made the most of several chances.

Marquinhos noted the improvement but had more praise for Dijon's dogged resistance.

"They played like heroes," he said. "They played a good game, they were clinical. We weren't.

"That explains the result at the end."

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