Neymar attributes tame performance to PSG’s handling of injury

Neymar attributes PSG's handling of his injury for tame performance
Neymar attributes PSG's handling of his injury for tame performance

Neymar has criticized Paris Saint-Germain‘s super-protective handling of his recent rib injury after the Parisians fell to a 2-1 defeat at Signal Iduna Park, a disappointing result that leaves the French club facing the prospect of yet another early Champions League exit.

PSG and Neymar Performance against Dortmund

Brazilian superstar looked short of match fitness in Tuesday’s last-16, first-leg, defeat at Dortmund, after missing four games in the last two weeks with a rib injury.

BVB’s Norwegian goal-machine Erling Braut Haaland scored twice to make him the Champions League joint top-scorer, but Neymar gave PSG a lifeline for the second leg in Paris on March 11.

The Brazilian tapped home for what could prove a crucial away goal after being set up by France striker Kylian Mbappe in the second half. However, PSG due couldn’t conceal the fact that the they were thoroughly outshone by Dortmund’s teenage stars Haaland and his teammate Jadon Sancho.

After the game, Neymar was critical of his club for not letting him play more before Tuesday’s clash. “It’s hard to go four games without playing,” the 28-year-old told reporters. 

“Unfortunately it wasn’t my choice, it was the choice of the club, of the doctors, they made that decision, which I didn’t like,” Neymar added. “We had a lot of discussions about it because I wanted to play, I felt good, but the club was afraid and in the end it was me who suffered,” he said.

Neymar looking for Match-fitness after injury

Big-budget PSG are desperate to avoid early exit the UEFA Champions League at round-of-16 for a fourth season in a row.

Neymar’s presence is always a major boost for team, after he missed last season’s surprise defeat to Manchester United with a foot injury.

He also sat out the second leg of their defeat by Real Madrid at the same stage in 2018.

PSG’s German coach Thomas Tuchel acknowledged Neymar’s lack of match fitness had been one of the factors for their defeat to Dortmund, but said he iis optimistic that his team will find their form.

“Neymar hadn’t played for a fortnight, but he is very important for Kylian (Mbappe), there is harmony between them and if Neymar lacks rhythm, it’s immediately noticeable,” said Tuchel. “It’s difficult, but we still have a few games left to get back into the rhythm,” he added.

His counterpart Lucien Favre acknowledged that Tuesday’s first leg gives Dortmund only a slender advantage with PSG’s passionate home fans set to get behind their team in the return match.

“Of course it’s a dangerous result, but we played well in both defence and attack,” said Dortmund’s Swiss coach.