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Neymar's birthday party a distraction, claims Tuchel

By Patric Ridge
Neymar

Paris, February 2: Paris Saint-Germain coach Thomas Tuchel has acknowledged his concern over the possibility of Neymar's birthday celebrations being "a distraction" for his side.

Neymar turns 28 on February 5 but will celebrate the occasion on Sunday by hosting what is reportedly set to be an extravagant party at a Paris nightclub.

PSG - who thrashed Montpellier 5-0 on Saturday, with Neymar sporting a new, bright pink haircut - face Nantes on Tuesday.

Tuchel refused to confirm if he would be attending the celebrations, but conceded he is worried the event will prove to be distracting for his players, while he also pointed out that Kylian Mbappe's angry reaction to being taken off against Montpellier may compound the issue.

"I won't tell you if I am going to attend the party, you'll see [on Sunday]," Tuchel told a news conference.

"It's another topic of the day, Ney's party. That's a distraction, it's true. I always protect my players, they are my players, I love them. I prefer to speak to them face-to-face, if there is something to say, or a criticism to make.

"But Kylian's behaviour or Ney's party are bad distractions as it gives an unprofessional image of us, that we are not serious, not professional.

"But I don't think it's black or white, it could be grey too. I know everyone wants to speak in black or white, it's a shame, it gives the impression we are not focused at 100 per cent. It takes importance when we speak too much about it. So, I don't want to talk too much."

Neymar was also seemingly embroiled in a spat with the officials at half-time in Saturday's win at Parc des Princes, the Brazil forward reportedly questioning referee Jerome Brisard as to why he had received a booking in the 38th minute.

According to French broadcaster Canal Plus, Neymar was asked to speak French while confronting the officials in the tunnel.

Canal Plus claim Neymar responded by slamming an object into a wall and replying: "Speak French? My a**!"

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Story first published: Sunday, February 2, 2020, 4:20 [IST]
Other articles published on Feb 2, 2020
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