'Neymar isn't easy to manage at all!' – Tuchel opens up on relationship with PSG star

The German boss has admitted that despite having a “big, big heart”, the Brazilian can often be a provocative figure at Parc des Princes

Thomas Tuchel has offered an insight into his relationship with Neymar at Paris Saint-Germain, insisting it is “not easy to manage” such a mercurial talent.

After a summer of intense transfer speculation, Neymar ended up staying at Parc des Princes for the start of the 2019-20 campaign.

The Brazil international had tried to push for a return to Barcelona, but the two clubs were ultimately unable to agree on a final fee after weeks of negotiations.

Upon his return to PSG’s starting line up, Neymar hit four goals in five Ligue 1 outings, before being struck down with an injury in October while away on international duty.

The 27-year-old spent over a month on the sidelines before making his return to action on Friday, helping the French champions secure a 2-0 home win against Lille.

Tuchel hauled Neymar off after an hour, with one eye on a trip to Santiago Bernabeu to face Real Madrid in the Champions League on Tuesday night.

The world’s most expensive footballer has endured a turbulent spell in Paris to date, with injuries and disciplinary issues ultimately overshadowing his exploits on the pitch.

Tuchel confesses that Neymar is “difficult” to work with, but knows that deep down, the forward is a “generous” and “reliable” character.

“It’s not easy to manage him at all!” the PSG boss told France Info .

“He has a big, big heart, but, unfortunately, he does not always show that he is a generous, reliable boy.

“Sometimes it is provocative and it’s very bad because it’s not necessary.

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“Yes, yes, I tell him that. We laugh a lot together and I always try to tell the truth. He accepts it, but it’s difficult.

“Ney is provocative when he feels that something is wrong, but he isn’t when he is calm.”

PSG are already safely through to the last 16 of this season’s Champions League, after winning all four of their fixtures in Group A.

Tuchel’s men secured a 3-0 win against Madrid at Parc des Princes on September 18, thanks to two goals from Angel Di Maria and a late Thomas Meunier goal.

The 46-year-old manager expects to come up against a stronger Blancos side this time around, but is looking forward to seeing his players play with the shackles off at the Bernabeu.

“It’s really an institution, Real Madrid. I played once with Borussia Dortmund at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium and it’s really hard to play,” Tuchel added. 

“This is one of the most difficult places to go in the world. For us, this is a good opportunity to show we are able to play with confidence, to take the ball, to have possession, to be brave, and to attack in this atmosphere. 

“Since losing to us, they have lost just once, and they have won every other game. They are really very strong right now. 

“But we are first in the group, we are qualified for the round of 16, and it’s a great opportunity to play with the right spirit and a lot of courage.”

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