Paris Saint-Germain coach Thomas Tuchel has asserted that superstar Kylian Mbappe must respect his choices during matches after the France international was visibly annoyed at being substituted late on during the 3-1 win away at Montpellier in Ligue 1 last Saturday.
Mbappe, 20, scored PSG’s second goal and teed up the third for Mauro Icardi before making way for Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting in the dying moments and then shrugging off Tuchel’s attempts to speak with him as he left the pitch.
The German was unconcerned by the incident ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League Group A closer at home to Galatasaray and wants to see greater acceptance of his decisions from Mbappe — as well as greater respect towards other squad members when being substituted.
“Kylian is not too hard to manage,” said Tuchel at Parc des Princes. “However, yes, he does have a special mentality! That is normal with his state of mind — his ambitions and his titles. He always wants to win and never likes to leave the pitch.
“Kylian must accept these are my decisions, though. He has to show respect to the player coming on in his place. I did not take his reaction personally. He was disappointed, but it was forgotten after a few moments because of his respect for Eric Maxim and me — it was no big deal!”
Tuchel also hit back at criticism of the team for being unable to play as a cohesive unit since Mbappe and Neymar‘s full returns despite an impressive late flurry in Montpellier.
The former Borussia Dortmund and Mainz 05 boss believes PSG are finding their feet with their star pair back in the fold.
“Without Neymar and Kylian, we lacked extraordinary quality — we really had to play together, as a team, to win,” Tuchel said. “Everyone in the dressing room is convinced by what these two bring us.
“Now, we have to find our state of mind. Against Montpellier, we found it — in the end. There is also no big deal with Kylian!
“These two are important to the squad. I am waiting for another step forward against Galatasaray. We must play as a team — it is vital if you want to win!”
Goalkeeper Keylor Navas added on the topic of Neymar and Mbappe that he sees “happy players in the dressing room — the squad is healthy and united.”
Tuchel also addressed Edinson Cavani‘s latest fitness issues and suggested he could involve the Uruguay international against the Turkish outfit this midweek.
“Edinson felt a pain in his calf before Montpellier,” he said. “He has returned to squad training. It is frustrating for him to not have much rhythm, but it was my decision to leave Mauro and another attacker on the pitch.
“It is not Edi’s fault, nor against him — he is very professional and very positive. He has lost a few more days, so logically a bit of pace too.
“If possible, I will give him a few minutes against Galatasaray. He needs to get back into the swing of things, he must — we need him!”
Regardless of the result, PSG have secured top spot in their group, so should receive a favourable latter stage draw next week.