Paris (AFP) – Neymar says his strong bond with Paris Saint-Germain coach Thomas Tuchel inspires the Brazilian forward to give his “life on the pitch”, as the French giants gear up for a trip to Manchester United in the Champions League next month.
Neymar, the world’s most expensive player, scored twice in Saturday’s record 9-0 rout of Guingamp at the Parc des Princes to give him 20 goals in 21 appearances for PSG this season.
“We have players of great quality which allows us to aim high,” he told Canal+ on Sunday, hailing his relationship with former Borussia Dortmund boss Tuchel.
“It’s a friendship but, at the same time, a huge mutual respect,” he said.
“I respect him as a coach but when we need to talk, we talk. I’ve developed a great affection towards him since the first time we spoke.
“When you have this great affection for your coach, you give your life on the pitch. For him I will do my best to win.”
The 26-year-old arrived in Paris from Barcelona in an eye-watering deal worth 222 million euros ($252 million) in August of 2017, but conceded he initially struggled to adapt to his new environment.
“I suffered a bit but I already feel at home now,” said Neymar.
“Last year I was faced with several problems, like injuries. I was away from the club for almost three months, perhaps that’s why I now feel happier today.”
Neymar fractured a bone in his right foot last February and missed the remainder of the season, returning just in time to play for Brazil at the World Cup.
“I suffered an injury, the most delicate of my career, but I’ve been able to get going again and I’m fine now.”
PSG travel to Old Trafford for the first leg of their last 16 tie on February 12 ahead of the return fixture on March 6.