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Paris Saint-Germain manager Thomas Tuchel has said he has a strong relationship with star player Neymar, noting he will continue to push the Brazilian following speculation linking him with a move away from the club in the summer.
Barcelona were consistently linked with a move for their former player, but the switch didn’t go ahead prior to the transfer deadline.
Speaking about Neymar, Tuchel said the pair get on well, and he won’t let the forward get comfortable at the Parc des Princes, perChris Burtonof Goal.
“It can be difficult to imagine when you just see him from the outside, but he’s really a good guy,” said Tuchel. “It’s not difficult to be close to him and to convince him what he has to do. When everything was over, I told him: ‘You think that the hardest is behind you now but you have to work with me and I won’t let you relax!’ The hardest is to come.”
Despite the Barcelona transfer falling through, there have been no signs of discontent from Neymar. He has scored four times since being reintroduced to the team, including this goal in the 4-0 win over Angers in Ligue 1 on Saturday:
Tuchel also said the decision not to sell Neymar was made by those at the top of the club, so there’s been little negative impact on the dynamic between the pair:
“Between us, nothing much has changed. I knew he wanted to leave the club, and he knew that I was against it. For me, it was not the right moment or the right decision to take. He knew clearly that as a coach, I didn’t want him to go. But we also know that it wasn’t my decision or really his either in the end.
“There was a need for a club to match our valuation, and then they would have said ‘yes.’ We have both accepted that the decision was not made at our level. It’s not going to affect our relationship because we knew there was a possibility that we would continue to work together and it would be stupid to waste everything.”
Following the summer of rumours, the PSG fans made their dissatisfaction towards Neymar clear with jeers and banners against the Brazilian. However, if he continues to perform at such a high level, it feels inevitable he’ll win those doubters over:
A strong relationship between Neymar and Tuchel feels important for PSG if they’re to have a successful campaign. While the forward is a world-class operator, his coach will be keen to push him on to another level and aid the team in their long-term pursuit of UEFA Champions League glory.
The early signs are that Neymar is responding to his manager. However, with PSG almost certain to win another domestic title, their record signing will likely be judged by his performances in Europe at the end of the campaign.