Thomas Tuchel Says He Doesn't Want Kylian Mbappe to Play Like Neymar

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistFebruary 5, 2019

Paris Saint-Germain's French forward Kylian Mbappe reacts during the French L1 football match between Olympique Lyonnais (OL) and Paris-Saint Germain (PSG) at Groupama stadium in Decines-Charpieu, near Lyon, on February 3, 2019. (Photo by ROMAIN LAFABREGUE / AFP)        (Photo credit should read ROMAIN LAFABREGUE/AFP/Getty Images)
ROMAIN LAFABREGUE/Getty Images

Paris Saint-Germain manager Thomas Tuchel has said he will not ask Kylian Mbappe to play like Neymar while the Brazilian is sidelined through injury.

Neymar, arguably the most important part of PSG's attacking trio with Mbappe and Edinson Cavani, has been ruled out for 10 weeks with a foot injury:

It means he will be out of action for a crucial part of PSG's run-in, but Tuchel does not plan to fill Neymar's role by asking the 20-year-old to adapt his game, per Joe Wright of Goal: "I don't want Kylian to play like Neymar and keep the ball. Kylian is incredibly dangerous in the final move, and I want him to stay that way."

Neymar, 27, suffered a fractured metatarsal in PSG's Coupe de France victory over Strasbourg on January 23.

In his absence, the French champions suffered their first Ligue 1 defeat of the season at Lyon on Sunday.

They still have a 10-point buffer to second-placed Lille in the French top flight and can likely successfully defend their title even if Neymar does not return for the rest of the season.

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The UEFA Champions League, though, is another matter.

When PSG were paired with Manchester United for the last 16 back in December, it looked like a generous draw as the Red Devils were in turmoil under Jose Mourinho.

Now, though, the Premier League giants are on a 10-match unbeaten run under interim boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, making February 12's opening leg at Old Trafford looking a much tougher proposition for PSG:

Before he was injured, Neymar had returned 18 goals and eight assists this season in a combined 19 appearances in Ligue 1 and the Champions League.

Mbappe's contribution has been even greater in 2018-19—21 goals and 10 assists in 22 appearances. 

But Neymar and Mbappe are most effective when they are in partnership, and the loss of the former Barcelona man will be detrimental to PSG's Champions League ambitions.