LEIPZIG • Paris Saint-Germain coach Thomas Tuchel waved away questions over his future after a 2-1 defeat at RB Leipzig on Wednesday dealt a major blow to the Champions League aspirations of last season’s runners-up.
Emil Forsberg’s second-half penalty gave the Bundesliga side victory in their Group H clash after former PSG midfielder Christopher Nkunku cancelled out Angel di Maria’s opener.
Di Maria missed a penalty which would have put the French champions 2-0 up despite being without Neymar, Mauro Icardi and Kylian Mbappe due to injury, and they ended the game with nine men after late red cards for Idrissa Gueye and Presnel Kimpembe.
Less than three months after leading the Qatar-owned club to the final for the first time, Tuchel has overseen a poor start – just one win in three group games – and speculation is growing he might not even last until the end of the season when his contract expires.
When asked by French broadcaster RMC Sport if he felt his position was under threat amid reports of clashes with sporting director Leonardo, Tuchel replied: “No.”
PSG have reached the knockout stage in each of the last eight seasons, but their prospects of advancing from the group have not been helped by injuries and they have now lost two group games for the first time since the 2011 takeover.
On top of Neymar, Mbappe and Icardi, Tuchel also missed the likes of the injured Marco Verratti and Juan Bernat, and he also could not call on Julian Draxler in Germany.
However, PSG captain Marquinhos is still backing the German to turn things around, saying: “Of course (we support him).
“We know how football is. It is the coach who has had the best season in club history. Football has no patience.
“We need to focus on the real things. Today he is our coach at PSG, we have confidence in him. If things aren’t going well it’s not just the coach’s fault, the players can do things better too.
“When you’re on the pitch, you have to fight to win.”
While Tuchel is on shaky ground, French daily Le Parisien has reported the club are still prepared to stick with him unless his position becomes untenable because he will be owed “at least” €10 million (S$16 million) if axed before his deal is up next summer.
That compensation figure, however, has not stopped the rumour mill, with former Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri and former Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino both mentioned as possible successors by French football website Le10Sport.
Having spent three seasons as a PSG player, Pochettino also has a deep connection with the club and he has told RMC Sport in the past that “it would be a pleasure to manage a big club like Paris, a dream”.