PSG boss Thomas Tuchel insists it was ‘necessary’ to rest Neymar, Edinson Cavani and Kylian Mbappe despite draw delaying Ligue 1 celebrations
- Thomas Tuchel left out his key players and Strasbourg fought to a 2-2 draw
- Point meant that French champions could not celebrate winning the league
- But manager insisted he was justified in his decision and stars needed break
Tuchel’s side needed three points to retain the Ligue 1 title but the visitors struck twice in quick succession as the game finished 2-2.
Neymar, Cavani and Angel Di Maria were absent, while Mbappe was named as a substitute for the game, and Tuchel said it was necessary to ‘protect his players’.
Neymar watched on from the stands and is nearing a return from his foot injury
Edison Cavani was also rested by Thomas Tuchel and PSG suffered without their key men
Speaking to L’Equipe, he said: ‘I don’t like playing without Neymar, Edi, Di Maria, all the players who can make a difference.
‘But it was necessary. Kylian felt something in his muscles over the last three games. It’s not always possible to play him.’
Despite the absences, it looked a formality for PSG when Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting got the opening goal after 13 minutes.
However, Strasbourg arrived in the French capital on a high after winning the Coupe de la Ligue final last weekend and following it up with a 4-0 midweek success against Reims, and the visitors rallied.
Thierry Laurey’s team turned the game on its head before half-time with goals from Nuno Da Costa and Anthony Goncalves.
Kylian Mbappe came on for the champions but could not help his side find a winner
The introduction of Mbappe after an hour saw PSG become much more of a threat and Thilo Kehrer equalised with eight minutes remaining, but the hosts could not find a winning goal and their inevitable coronation was put on hold.
PSG should have regained the lead at 1-1 but an astonishing miss by Choupo-Moting meant it stayed level.
Christopher Nkunku lifted his shot over the advancing goalkeeper and the ball was set to trickle into the net, only for Choupo-Moting to follow it in and stop the ball on the goal line in an attempt to get the final touch and his second goal of the game.
Tuchel said: ‘I think he’s lacking confidence. He’s not here to start every game but he is at the moment because we have a lot of injuries.
‘It’s not his role. He’s a great substitute.
Tuchel’s decision not to play his attacking trio backfired and PSG have to wait to be crowned
‘Today, he was very unhappy. He started well then stopped the ball on the line. I don’t know why he did that. You could say it’s Murphy’s law.’
PSG are 20 points clear at the top of the table with eight games left and their next chance to clinch the title will come when they travel to second-placed Lille next weekend.
Laurey was quoted in L’Equipe as saying: ‘It was a shame to concede to make it 2-2 with eight minutes left to play.
‘It was a bit like the Alamo, the saves from Matz Sels were necessary and we prayed a little.
‘But regardless of the result, I am very happy with the performance of my players because it’s matches like these which will help them progress.’
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