Paris Saint-Germain coach Thomas Tuchel has revealed that midfielder Marco Verratti was unable to make his comeback from a sprained ankle during the PSG’s 3-0 Coupe de France Round-of-16 win over Villefranche-Beaujolais in Lyon on Wednesday because of a new injury problem.
PSG survived a scare from the semi-professional, third-tier strugglers with goals in extra time coming from Julian Draxler, Moussa Diaby and Edinson Cavani, but the real worry is Verratti’s fitness, the Italian facing a race against time leading up to the first leg of PSG’s Champions League tie with Manchester United in six days’ time.
Speaking after the final whistle at the Groupama Stadium, Tuchel explained the bad news about Verratti just days after the Italy international returned to training after the left ankle sprain he suffered on Jan. 20 against Guingamp.
“Marco was unable to finish training on Tuesday,” said the coach. “He had problems and I have to wait until Thursday to be able to take a decision over playing him against Bordeaux.
“Marco’s new issue is something else (not the same ankle), but I do not really know much more.”
The German manager, who was sent off during the second half on Wednesday, was not happy with his sides performance, bemoaning his team’s imprecise nature and inability to take their early chances, which allowed minnows Villefranche to grow in confidence.
“The match was complicated and close,” he said. “We had several early chances. If we had scored, we would have played with greater confidence.
“Many of the guys out there had not played much lately — they lacked a bit of rhythm and confidence. Until the end of extra time, we lacked precision.”
Cavani scored the third goal and assisted the opener and praised Villefranche for their brave effort and ability to take the game into extra time.
“We were up against a tough Villefranche side, who played very well,” said the striker. “It was difficult, but we managed to get ourselves out of it.
“After we got our first goal, the match was more open. Ultimately, I think that we deserved to win.”
PSG’s reward for edging past Villefranche is a home quarter-final draw against fellow Ligue 1 side Dijon, who are coached by former PSG boss Antoine Kombouare.
Tuchel also had some words about his surprising dismissal saying “If the referee [Anthony Gautier] wants to do that, he can. All I said was that it was not a yellow card — not a word more. If that is enough for a dismissal… Ok. I have to accept it, but it is harsh as I only said one sentence.”
One positive for Les Parisiens was new boy Leandro Paredes, who impressed his manager.
“It was a good opportunity to play Leandro for 60, or 70 minutes — ultimately, he went the full 120,” said Tuchel. “Obviously, this will have consequences. As he played 120 minutes here, I am not sure if he will be able to play for much more than an hour against Bordeaux this weekend.
“Leandro played well — he was very reliable in the middle. He never lost the ball, showed his quality with some passes and was creative. It was not easy, but he showed his quality here.”
Ligue 1 leaders PSG host Bordeaux on Saturday before travelling to Old Trafford to play Man United on Feb. 12 in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie.