Neymar and Marco Verratti will be severely missed by Paris Saint-Germain, but coach Thomas Tuchel is bullish about their ability to cope without both players.
Thomas Tuchel is adamant Paris Saint-Germain can cope without injured stars Marco Verratti and Neymar, even if the Brazilian's problem has left the coach "sad". Neymar limped out of Wednesday's 2-0 Coupe de France win over Strasbourg after appearing to twist his foot following a robust challenge from midfielder Moataz Zemzemi. PSG issued a statement on Thursday to confirm Neymar hurt the same metatarsal he broke last February in a Ligue 1 win over Olympique de Marseille.
Old Trafford trip fast approaching
As such, the thoughts of fans and pundits alike swiftly turned to PSG's upcoming Champions League last-16 clash with resurgent Manchester United, as Tuchel's men travel to Old Trafford on 12 February. Tuchel remains unclear as to how serious Neymar's injury is, and while he rued the situation, he is confident they can handle it as a squad, with Verratti already out with an ankle issue.
"We will know more [about Neymar's injury] in a week," the coach told reporters today. "Treatment has started, so we will see how it goes. I truly believe that we can handle the situation without Marco and Neymar. It is time to focus on Rennes and nothing else. Neymar and Marco are two key players, but we will find solutions – we have a great squad and players who can always make a difference. Injuries are bad luck. It hurts when you lose key players, but our staff are very intelligent. Marco is mentally strong. He comes [to the training ground] 12 hours every day. For Neymar, it is different. He came for some treatment on Friday. He is sad, I am sad too. It is horrible [to have suffered a recurrence], but we tried to avoid talking about his injury and we made him laugh instead. They are extraordinary players with great quality. We miss them and have no replacements, so it is a challenge to find solutions. We are a strong squad, though."
One player who could potentially ease the loss of Verratti if he is ruled out for a while is Leandro Paredes. The Argentina international is close to joining from Zenit, with Tuchel hopeful it can be completed in the next day or so. "It's not finished, I cannot talk too much about Leandro," Tuchel said. "This transfer must be closed during the weekend. I have to wait."