Paris (AFP) – Paris Saint-Germain coach Thomas Tuchel says he has no intention of leaving the French club in the wake of their exit from the Champions League at the hands of Manchester United.
“I have a contract and I want to stay here a long time, grow and have success with the club, that is my goal, that’s absolutely clear,” said the German on Monday when asked how he sees his future.
Tuchel was appointed last year on a two-year deal to succeed Unai Emery. He had been widely praised for his work at the Parc des Princes, but another elimination from the Champions League in the first knockout round has raised questions.
PSG had been desperate to make progress in Europe after being knocked out of the Champions League last 16 in back-to-back seasons under Emery. They looked on course to reach the quarter-finals after a 2-0 win away to United in the first leg last month, but a 3-1 home loss at the Parc des Princes last week knocked them out on away goals.
The nature of their defeat, especially coming two years after their capitulation against Barcelona at the same stage, has seen PSG widely labelled as bottlers, incapable of dealing with the tension on the big stage.
However, Tuchel insists that the United game was “an accident”, with the tie decided by Marcus Rashford’s penalty, which was awarded for a handball following a controversial VAR review.
– ‘Sad, hurt’ –
“It is difficult to analyse Wednesday because in my opinion it was an accident,” said Tuchel.
“Lots of people might say, ‘yes, but there have been lots of accidents at the same moment going back several years’, but for me and this team it was an accident, there is no explanation, we controlled the game.
“We wanted to show that things are different this season, it was the moment to grow, to leave the doubts behind, but we were not capable of taking that step.”
PSG returned to training on Sunday after three days off in the wake of the United game. They were greeted with abuse from supporters who had been invited into the session at the club’s stadium.
Reports said that attempts by players, including captain Thiago Silva, to calm the ‘Ultras’ were ignored, with more verbal abuse the response.
“They were hurt, sad, angry. Everyone can understand that but you can’t be more sad or hurt than us. It’s not possible,” Tuchel insisted.
After not playing at the weekend, PSG return to action on Tuesday in a rearranged league fixture at struggling Dijon.
They go into that game without Edinson Cavani, who is not fit, while Julian Draxler is injured, Dani Alves is suspended and January signing Leandro Paredes is not eligible.
With PSG 14 points clear of second-placed Lille, and with two games in hand, the Ligue 1 title is surely in the bag, and Tuchel’s biggest challenge now will be motivating his players to keep going until the end of the campaign.
Tuesday’s game is followed by a home fixture against old rivals Marseille on Sunday.
“Lots of guys here want the season to end and to have a holiday but that is not an option.
“It is part of the essence of sport that you have to swallow things that are hard to swallow, and get on with it.”
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