Paris Saint-Germain manager Thomas Tuchel has blasted Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s tactics following Manchester United’s heroic Champions League turnaround.
The Red Devils pulled off a sensational second leg comeback against the Parisians at Le Parc des Princes, scoring a 94th minute penalty winner via Marcus Rashford to secure their place in the quarter-finals.
What were Solskjaer’s tactics against PSG? Five key things to know…
- Solskjaer had a depleted squad, including half a dozen major absentees and was hence forced to deploy a makeshift XI.
- His midfield consisted of three fringe players in Andreas Pereira, Fred and Scott McTominay.
- United had just 28% possession and scored three of the four shots they had on target.
- The Red Devils largely sat back and soaked up pressure before counter-attacking, much to the disdain of Tuchel.
- The German has now compared the match to their Coupe de la Ligue exit at the hands of Guingamp earlier this season.
The decisive spot kick came after Damir Skomina consulted VAR and adjudged Presnel Kimpembe to have unnaturally handled the ball in the dying embers.
Rashford kept an iron nerve and rattled the back of the net, sending the travelling United fans into raptures, while etching the club’s name in the history books, becoming the first club in European history to overcome a 2-0 or greater home first-leg deficit.
PSG largely dominated the game, but have once again failed to progress past the round-of-16. This latest capitulation was the third season in a row, and Tuchel was clearly incensed after the match.
“After the second goal, we controlled the match, we played with a lot of quality,” Tuchel told reporters. “We react well to the first goal we gave them. We had a lot of chances but we did not score the second, or the third.
“Aside from that, with not even a chance, with not even anything they get a second goal. The second goal turned the match completely in our heads.
“In the second half, they didn’t have a single chance. I have the same feeling now as I did after our defeat to Guingamp in the Coupe de la Ligue, it was impossible to lose and we lost with three penalties.
“Today, I never had the impression that Manchester United wanted to win here. We lost but we controlled the whole game. They won, congratulations to them, but I have no explanation as to how they won.”
The match in question saw bottom of league, Guingamp, score two late penalties after going a goal down – courtesy of Neymar – to secure the most unlikeliest of giant killings in the French capital in January.
Tuchel further expressed his frustration towards the penalty decision, which has divided opinion among football fans, pundits and former referees alike, asking for more clarity from officials.
He added: “I am in favour of VAR, it is good. But I feel that the shot was not on target and if it was not on target, it makes no sense to give a penalty.
“The rules surrounding the hand are always difficult to explain. The rules are not clear. It was not a shot on target and that makes it a penalty, okay”
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PSG “trust” Tuchel despite result
Tuchel was hired on the proviso of challenging more competitively in Europe following years of stagnation in the elite knockout competition, but he has now followed in his predecessor’s footsteps, and fallen short of the mark.
That said, the PSG hierarchy have come out in support of Tuchel with chairman Nasser Al-Khelaifi publicly backing his summer appointment.
He said: “I trust Thomas. This is not the time for decisions. Decisions require a cool head. We trust him.
“We need to calm down right now and see what the coach wants – that is very important. We are very disappointed with the result and performance. I do not understand.
“We played great at Old Trafford, then we return home and gift them two goals. Honestly, I do not understand that performance in front of our own fans.
“The season is not over. It is a big disappointment, but we still have Ligue 1 and the Coupe de France – we cannot say that this season is now over.”