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Galtier: Neymar a loss, but PSG more balanced

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Published in Soccer
Tuesday, 07 March 2023 12:22

Paris Saint-Germain coach Christophe Galtier has insisted that the absence of Neymar from Wednesday's Champions League decider against Bayern Munich and the rest of the season will be a loss for the French champions, even if it makes the team more balanced.

PSG will be without Neymar, who has been ruled out for the rest of the season with an ankle problem that requires surgery, and his absence has been seen as a possible blessing in disguise to give the team more balance.

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Instead of playing all three star forwards, with Neymar alongside Kylian Mbappe and Lionel Messi, the Brazilian's absence is likely to mean Galtier can employ an extra midfielder.

"I see there has been a debate around this. It's a loss, clearly. Is the team more balanced? Yes. Is it better like this? I will say that having him is better to score goals," said Galtier.

"Also, we played the first game with a very diminished squad."

While Neymar will be missing, PSG will be boosted by the return to full fitness of Mbappe, who was unable to start the round of 16 first leg against Bayern three weeks ago as he recovered from a hamstring injury.

PSG lost 1-0 at the Parc des Princes but were transformed after Mbappe came on as a second half substitute and since then he became the capital side's all-time top scorer with 201 goals.

"The presence of Kylian will give us more depth," said Galtier, who hopes his team will "win the ball in the Bayern half" more often.

"Kylian is a player we're lucky to have, with his personality and his character. We're confident for tomorrow and we will play a great game tomorrow," said midfielder Marco Verratti.

"There's a lot of pressure because we're playing for something big and we love it. We will play a game that will look nothing like the Paris game.

"In games like this we need everyone. But Kylian is always here in the big games."

Also speaking on Tuesday, Bayern manager Julian Nagelsmann said that the return of Mbappe would be more significant to the outcome of the match than Neymar's unavailability.

"The absence of Neymar does not change things too much. The fact that Mbappe plays from the start does change things," Nagelsmann said.

"He has unique qualities but it is about solving the problem collectively and I think we are well prepared."

PSG's season will once again be judged on Wednesday's result.

"Beyond the result I want us to be more aggressive than in the first leg. If we're getting into this game with this mindset we can qualify tomorrow night," said Galtier, who added that he had "a strategy" on the order of shooters in case the tie should be decided on penalties.

Galtier concluded by saying defenders Nordi Mukiele, Marquinhos and Achraf Hakimi should be fit after suffering minor injuries.

Information from Reuters was used in this report.

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