Neymar will not be allowed to “relax” at Paris Saint-Germain after missing out on a summer move to Barcelona, says Thomas Tuchel, with the situation made abundantly clear to the want-away star.
The Brazil international forward made no secret of his desire to return to Camp Nou during the last transfer window after two years in Ligue 1.
Barca did all they could to put an agreement in place, but PSG refused to buckle under pressure and maintained their demands throughout a protracted saga.
With the deadline passing and no deal done, Neymar finds himself stuck at Parc des Princes for the foreseeable future.
The 27-year-old has shrugged off that disappointment to put in a series of professional and very important performances for PSG, with Tuchel having made it clear to the South American that he needs to commit to the cause and deliver his best on a consistent basis.
“It wasn’t my decision and it wasn’t really his either,” Tuchel said of the calls to keep Neymar in the French capital.
“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.
“The club had a very clear position. It had established that he would not play until he said he would stay. So I concentrated on my squad. I never asked for him to play or not, because the decision was clear and it came from the very top. This clarity helped me a lot.
“He’s a good guy. It can be difficult to imagine when you just see him from the outside, but he’s really a good guy. 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.
“The situation isn’t simple. The supporters have given their opinion and I understand all of those. They have the right to say what they feel, they’re very proud of their club. It’s not what they want to hear, that one of their players is repeating week after week that he wants to go. I’ve told him he has to face this reality. Now, we are where we are and it’s my job to push him to reach his best.”
Neymar has suffered untimely injuries in each of his campaigns at PSG, but still boasts an impressive strike rate for the Ligue 1 champions and a four-goal haul this season has lifted him to 55 efforts in just 63 appearances.