As the Paris Saint-Germain head coach illustrated the struggles of playing behind closed doors following the Champions League loss on Tuesday, Thomas Tuchel said the continuing absence of fans is proving difficult.
In their Group H opener at Parc des Princes, PSG (last season’s Champions League runners-up) lost 2-1 to Premier League visitors Manchester United.
The 87th-minute strike of Marcus Rashford downed PSG, who, after United Captain Bruno Fernandes had converted a 23rd-minute penalty, equalized 10 minutes into the second half through Anthony Martial’s own goal.
The result doomed PSG to their first home defeat in 25 games in the Champions League group stage, and in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, PSG manager Tuchel lamented behind-closed-doors football.
“It’s clear we can improve and we must,” Tuchel told reporters. “It’s clear that we’re not happy with the performance but now is not the moment to be too critical, here, in public.
“We’ll do that behind closed doors. We have a lot of things to improve. I don’t know why but it’s obvious that we had trouble to find the required spirit.
“It’s really difficult to always play in closed doors, it’s very difficult, it’s not the same atmosphere in Champions League. It’s one reason but it’s not the decisive reason. We’ll analyse and discuss but behind closed doors.”
In the French capital, where star duo Neymar and Kylian Mbappe were nullified by United’s defence, PSG, without the likes of Marquinhos and Marco Verratti, were far from their best.
For the first time since November 2013, Neymar has not scored in four consecutive Champions League appearances.
PSG, who will also face semi-finalists RB Leipzig last season, will have the opportunity to respond next week when they travel to Group H opponents Istanbul Basaksehir.