Thomas Tuchel praised hat-trick hero Kylian Mbappe for his response after finding it "difficult" against Borussia Dortmund, with the forward's partnership alongside Neymar crucial to Paris Saint-Germain.

With PSG lining up in an unfamiliar 4-3-3 formation, Mbappe struggled to make an impact during the first leg of the last-16 Champions League tie away in Dortmund last month.

However, since the 2-1 defeat in Europe, France international Mbappe has flourished in domestic action, scoring six goals in three games.

Mbappe's hat-trick on Wednesday helped PSG progress to the Coupe de France final in style, with head coach Tuchel delighted at the 21-year-old's display in the 5-1 thrashing of Lyon.

"Mbappe's been very strong these last few weeks. He had a tough time in Dortmund playing in a different position. It was clearly difficult for him against Dortmund," Tuchel told the media.

"With Neymar, they're very strong together. After Dortmund, Mbappe showed a great reaction after every training session and during the games against Dijon and Lyon.

"He's very strong, he uses his speed very well, he's very decisive. He's really in good shape."

Neymar also scored in the rout, converting a second-half penalty after Marcal was deemed to have handled the ball inside the area midweek.

The Lyon defender received a second yellow card as punishment, allowing PSG to cut loose against 10 men. Mbappe added two more goals following his first-half equaliser, while Pablo Sarabia also scored late on.

Tuchel pointed to Neymar as the catalyst for the team to produce such "extraordinary performances", the Brazilian benefiting from playing regularly after returning from a rib issue.

"Neymar was very strong, he's still dangerous. For him, the most important thing is that he plays," the former Dortmund boss said.

"He's a player who helps us to do extraordinary performances, with extraordinary results. He has to play, and it's good that he played 90 minutes.

"It is also good to have another game to play before Dortmund against Strasbourg. He needs that, he has the ability to play a lot, and when he plays a lot, he is super strong."

Neymar scored PSG's goal against Dortmund but criticised the way the club managed his injury following the defeat, insisting he had wanted to play prior to the trip to Germany.

Kylian Mbappe scored a hat-trick as Paris Saint-Germain recovered from falling behind to reach the Coupe de France final with a 5-1 triumph over 10-man Lyon.

Thomas Tuchel's side remain on course for a clean sweep of domestic trophies after prevailing in a dress rehearsal for next month's Coupe de la Ligue final in the French capital.

Mbappe was the star turn but the game was closely fought until turning on a handball by Marcal, leading to a second booking for the Lyon defender and a penalty for their opponents.

Neymar coolly converted to make it 2-1, leading to the Brazilian being the target for objects thrown from the stands, and from then on PSG cut loose against 10 men, giving the final score a lopsided look to it.

Mbappe finished a solo run by flashing a shot beyond Anthony Lopes and then tapped home Neymar's cross at the second attempt to complete his treble in added time, with his late double sandwiching a goal from Pablo Sarabia.

Buoyed by back-to-back home wins over Juventus and rivals Saint-Etienne, Lyon had stood toe-to-toe when at full strength, including claiming an early lead when Martin Terrier swept home Karl Toko Ekambi's low cross.

Yet their advantage lasted less than three minutes, Mbappe providing the finishing touch at the back post from close range after Layvin Kurzawa had flicked on Sarabia's corner. The defender's assist for the equaliser came at a personal cost, though, as he suffered a cut in a clash of heads.

Having finished impressively earlier in proceedings, Terrier failed to show such composure when a dummy from Moussa Dembele put him in the clear, poking a tame effort straight at Keylor Navas.

Edinson Cavani had a goal correctly ruled out for offside and also struck the post before the end of the first half, though Lyon were the team in the ascendency until Marcal's indiscretion, with the penalty awarded after a VAR check.

PSG's triumph means they may well get the chance for revenge against Rennes, the team who denied them the trophy last season. The holders are at Saint-Etienne in the second semi-final on Thursday.

Neymar is reportedly becoming Barcelona's top target again ahead of next season.

The Brazil international was heavily linked with a return to the LaLiga giants ahead of this season, but ended up staying at Paris Saint-Germain.

However, Barca are ready to try to land the forward once more.

 

TOP STORY – NEYMAR OBJECTIVE NUMBER ONE FOR BARCELONA

Neymar is Barcelona's top priority ahead of the 2020-21 season, according to Sport.

The cover of the Spanish sports daily reads: "Neymar objective number one".

It reports FIFA is also allowing Barcelona to negotiate more strongly with PSG than it did last year.

Neymar has scored 16 goals in 20 games in all competitions for PSG this season.

 

ROUND-UP

- Staying with PSG and L'Equipe reports the Ligue 1 giants will not release France star Kylian Mbappe, or any of their players including Neymar, to play at the Olympics.

- Harry Kane may be sidelined with a hamstring injury, but his career at Tottenham remains a talking point. The Telegraph reports the forward will consider his future with Spurs at the end of the season as they face another campaign without silverware.

- Jadon Sancho continues to star for Borussia Dortmund and the 19-year-old is already up to 17 goals in all competitions this season. Bild reports the asking price for the England international has risen to £122million (€140m), with Liverpool, Manchester United and Chelsea said to be interested in the attacker.

- Real Madrid, PSG and Chelsea have already made contact with the agent of Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, according to Italian journalist Nicolo Schira, who says they are ready to offer the 21-year-old an annual salary of €8m.

- Appearing set for a Barcelona exit at the end of the season, Ivan Rakitic recently met with Atletico Madrid representatives, according to Marca.

- With plenty of changes seemingly ahead at Camp Nou, Mundo Deportivo reports Barcelona are in regular contact with the agency of Ferran Torres, the 20-year-old attacker who has caught the eye at Valencia.

Kylian Mbappe has been pre-selected for France ahead of the upcoming Olympic Games in Tokyo, French Football Federation (FFF) president Noel Le Graet said.

Paris Saint-Germain star and World Cup winner Mbappe, 21, is on the initial 80-man list for the tournament, with men's teams restricted to Under-23 players and a maximum of three overage players.

Football at the Tokyo Olympics will get underway on July 23 and finish on August 8 as defending champions Brazil eye another gold medal.

"Mbappe is on a pre-list of 80 players for the Olympic Games, produced by Sylvain Ripoll. That list will then become 50, before becoming 18 + four reserves," Le Graet told reporters.

"He has the age to be able to go [U23]. Like all the young players of his age who are talented, he is therefore on the list… I met with [PSG president] Nasser [Al-Khelaifi]. I asked him how Mbappe was going. He said to me: 'Very good'. That's where we are.

"In general, club presidents feel that the dates [of the Olympic Games] are not particularly good. It is like that."

Mbappe has starred for Ligue 1 champions PSG this season, scoring 18 league goals and 27 across all competitions.

Kylian Mbappe scored twice as Paris Saint-Germain cruised to a 4-0 victory over Dijon on Saturday to re-establish their 13-point lead at the top of Ligue 1.

Spain midfielder Pablo Sarabia opened the scoring early in the game as he netted his ninth goal in all competitions since the start of 2020.

Mbappe added a second after the break with a composed finish before he set up substitute Mauro Icardi at the Parc des Princes.

France international Mbappe then put the gloss on the result in injury time when he tapped in his 18th league goal of the season after Julian Draxler's initial shot had been blocked.

If you want to sign Kalidou Koulibaly, prepare to splash the cash.

Koulibaly is one of the most sought-after defenders in Europe and clubs are expected to come calling at the end of the season.

Teams from Spain, England, Germany and France are queuing up.

 

TOP STORY – NAPOLI SET KOULIBALY FEE

Napoli are ready to accept €99million (£85m) for star defender Kalidou Koulibaly, according to Corriere dello Sport.

Koulibaly is reportedly wanted by Barcelona, Real Madrid, Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain, Bayern Munich and Manchester City.

Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis is apparently unwilling to accept anything less than the price mentioned.

 

ROUND-UP

United are monitoring Fiorentina and Italy star Federico Chiesa, reports the Daily Mail. The 22-year-old winger has previously been linked to Juventus and Inter.

- Calciomercato journalist Fabrizio Romano says Juventus are set to meet with striker Gonzalo Higuain to discuss his future in Turin. The 32-year-old is out of contract in 2021.

- The Suns says Arsenal's Europa League exit has jeopardised their transfer plans. Mikel Arteta and the Gunners had reportedly lined up moves for RB Leipzig defender Dayot Upamecano, Bayer Leverkusen centre-back Jonathan Tah and Gent striker Jonathan David. However, the loss of income could damage Arsenal's plans.

- Fiorentina midfielder Gaetano Castrovilli is being pursued by Serie A rivals Inter, reports Calciomercato.

Atletico Madrid are eyeing a surprise swoop for Chelsea's Willian, claims Tuttomercatoweb. Willian will be available on a free transfer when his contract expires at the end of the season. The Brazilian is yet to recommit to Chelsea. Barcelona, Tottenham and Russian outfit Lokomotiv Moscow have been credited with an interest.

Everyone wants a piece of Erling Haaland.

The Norwegian teenager has taken Europe by storm this season. First with Salzburg and now with Borussia Dortmund.

Haaland's exploits have reportedly alerted Real Madrid.

 

TOP STORY – MADRID MAKE CONTACT FOR HAALAND

Real Madrid have held talks with Borussia Dortmund over the signing of star striker Erling Haaland, according to Radio Marca.

Haaland has enjoyed a record-breaking start to life at Bundesliga outfit Dortmund after arriving from Salzburg in January, having turned down Manchester United.

But the 19-year-old's time with Dortmund could be brief as LaLiga giants Madrid reportedly circle amid their goalscoring woes.

 

ROUND-UP

- La Gazzetta Dello Sport journalist Nicolo Schira claims Paris Saint-Germain are interested in Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly. With veteran centre-back Thiago Silva out of contract at the end of the season and facing an uncertain future, Ligue 1 champions PSG are set to turn to Koulibaly, who has been linked to the likes of United, Manchester City, Arsenal and Tottenham. Napoli are reportedly set to demand at least €100-110million.

Madrid are also reportedly interested in Koulibaly, while El Desmarque says Zinedine Zidane is tracking Inter defender Milan Skriniar.

Tottenham are monitoring Manchester United defender and Roma loanee Chris Smalling, reports Calciomercato. Roma want to sign Smalling permanently.

- According to Football Insider, City have identified Everton defender Mason Holgate as a primary transfer target. Pep Guardiola is determined to bolster his defensive options after an injury-plagued season.

- Inter forward Lautaro Martinez is wanted by LaLiga champions Barcelona but Madrid are ready to go head-to-head with their rivals for the Argentina star, according to Mundo Deportivo.

Milan are eyeing a move for Udinese star Rodrigo De Paul at season's end, reports Schira.

Erling Haaland has taken the world by storm since joining Borussia Dortmund in January.

Already stunning Europe with his exploits for Salzburg, Haaland has scored 12 goals in eight appearances as a Dortmund player.

Now, Real Madrid could be about to come sniffing in their pursuit of goals.

 

TOP STORY – HAALAND AN OPTION FOR MADRID

Borussia Dortmund sensation Haaland could be a cheaper alternative for Real Madrid instead of Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe, writes Marca.

Mbappe has long been linked with a move to Madrid, where Zinedine Zidane is a keen admirer of his fellow Frenchman.

However, 19-year-old Dortmund recruit Haaland – whose €75million release clause is set to kick in next year – has emerged as an option for Madrid, with PSG set to demand a mammoth fee for Mbappe.

 

ROUND-UP

- Reports linking Inter star Lautaro Martinez to Barcelona are gathering steam and Calciomercato says the LaLiga champions want to start negotiations by May. Madrid and Manchester United are also reportedly interested.

- Staying at Camp Nou and Barca are keen on signing Valencia centre-back Hugo Guillamon, according to Sport. The 20-year-old will be available on a free transfer at season's end.

Bayern Munich are interested in RB Leipzig defender Dayot Upamecano but Kicker claims the Bundesliga champions believe he is too expensive at €60m. Upamecano has been linked to Arsenal, Tottenham, Barca and Madrid.

- Remaining in Munich and Kicker also says Bayern are unconvinced by the €100m price tag of Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Kai Havertz, whose admirers include the likes of Liverpool and United.

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."

Edinson Cavani reflected on a "special moment" after scoring his 200th goal for Paris Saint-Germain in Sunday's Ligue 1 win over Bordeaux.

Cavani - PSG's all-time leading scorer - netted his side's first in a thrilling 4-3 victory, bringing up his personal milestone in the 25th minute at the Parc des Princes.

The Uruguayan forward was linked with a move away in January, while his contract expires with the French club at the end of the season.

PSG held a presentation for Cavani, who has seven goals this season, after the game and the 33-year-old was "a little emotional".

"It's the team-mates who give you the goals," Cavani told Canal+.

"It's a very special moment after a difficult month in January, but I'm here to give my best and try to have a great season with the team.

"But I'm like that, a little emotional. I looked at my family who is there, always behind me, pushing me, giving me love.

"In the end, that's what makes you move on. It gives me a lot of emotion and that's why I'm a little like that.

"We have to push again and I hope to continue to make beautiful things here."

Defender Marquinhos scored a brace for PSG and Kylian Mbappe also found the net, though the hosts had Neymar sent off in additional time.

PSG are 13 points clear of nearest rivals Marseille in the Ligue 1 table.

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.

 

Paris Saint-Germain striker Edinson Cavani scored his 200th goal for the club in all competitions during their Ligue 1 clash with Bordeaux on Sunday.

The Uruguay international, who celebrated his 33rd birthday this month, equalised for PSG with a powerful header from Angel Di Maria's curling cross.

It was Cavani's seventh goal of the campaign for PSG having found himself in and out of the starting line-up under head coach Thomas Tuchel.

Cavani joined PSG from Italian side Napoli in July 2013 and is set to become a free agent at the end of the season.

He became PSG's all-time top goalscorer in January 2018 when he surpassed the record of 156 held by Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

After dominating European football for over a decade, could Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo shelve their rivalry and come together as team-mates?

David Beckham might be the man to make it happen.

The former Manchester United and Real Madrid midfielder appears to have ambitious plans for his new MLS franchise.

 

TOP STORY – MESSI, RONALDO WANTED AT INTER MIAMI

Barcelona captain Messi, 32, and Juventus talisman Ronaldo, 35, will end their careers on the same side if Inter Miami co-owner Beckham gets his wish, according to the Mirror.

The newspaper claims the new MLS outfit are "already thinking big" and could look to lure football's two biggest superstars to the United States.

LA Galaxy have also been linked with a move for Messi but Minnesota United head coach Adrian Heath believes Beckham's pulling power has the potential to create a dream attacking duo.

“For Ronaldo and Messi, the two obvious destinations if they came to the MLS would be Los Angeles and Miami," Heath told the Mirror.

"And, with his links to both players and the plan Beckham and his backers have in place, I can really only see them going to Miami."

ROUND-UP

- Manchester United are set to launch a £50million bid for Wolves forward Diogo Jota, scorer of a Europa League hat-trick on Thursday, reports the Express.

- United have also been linked with Birmingham City teenager Jude Bellingham but the Red Devils are set to face competition from Liverpool, according to the Daily Star.

- Serie A leaders Juventus are at the front of the queue for Paul Pogba but Paris Saint-Germain also hope to land the French star, reports Le10 Sport.

- PSG, meanwhile, are planning for life after Thomas Tuchel, who is said to be in talks with Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich. L'Equipe claims the Ligue 1 champions could look to replace him with either Massimiliano Allegri or Lazio boss Simone Inzaghi.

- Premier League clubs Sheffield United, Wolves and Burnley are showing interest in Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips, suggests the Sun.

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."

Manchester City's Champions League ban could have some serious consequences.

While City are planning to appeal UEFA's two-season suspension from European competition after an investigation found the club broke financial fair play regulations, rivals are circling.

City's stars are reportedly attracting interest from far and wide.

 

TOP STORY – BARCA EYE BERNARDO SILVA

LaLiga champions Barcelona are targeting Manchester City star Bernardo Silva, according to the Transfer Window Podcast.

The report comes following City's Champions League suspension handed down to the Premier League giants by UEFA.

City team-mate Raheem Sterling has already been linked to Real Madrid.

 

ROUND-UP

- Marca says Madrid are ready to make a move for Rennes teenager Eduardo Camavinga. The 17-year-old has starred for the Ligue 1 outfit and is reportedly valued at €70million.

Paul Pogba has also been linked to Madrid but Goal claims he could be offered a new contract by Manchester United, who expect the Frenchman to leave at the end of the season. Former club Juventus are also reportedly tracking the midfielder.

Paris Saint-Germain are looking to either Juventus head coach Maurizio Sarri or Massimiliano Allegri amid uncertainty over the future of Thomas Tuchel, reports La Gazzetta dello Sport.

- Lille defender Gabriel is being monitored by Arsenal, Everton, PSG and now Leicester City, according to Le10 Sport.

- The Mirror says Arsenal are set to raise transfer funds through the sale of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and potentially Matteo Guendouzi as the Gunners eye Valencia's Carlos Soler and RB Leipzig defender Dayot Upamecano.

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