‘It was an accident… the referee made a mistake with the VAR’: PSG coach Thomas Tuchel laments contentious Champions League last-16 exit at the hands of Manchester United
- Paris Saint-Germain exited the Champions League at the hands of Man United
- Thomas Tuchel says tie gave him his first experience of an ‘accident’ in football
- He said two individual mistakes and then the referee’s VAR mistake were reason
- PSG invited fans to watch training but it backfired when they were booed on
Accidents will happen, according to Paris Saint-Germain coach Thomas Tuchel, and it happened to his team.
PSG were handed a surprising – and historic – loss to Manchester United in the last 16 of the Champions League last week. The French club became the first team to be eliminated from the competition after winning the away leg 2-0.
PSG dominated possession and created the best chances at the Parc des Princes but conceded two goals because of individual errors before a contentious penalty from Marcus Rashford in the fourth minute of stoppage time. United won 3-1, eliminating PSG from the last 16 for the third straight year.
Marcus Rashford celebrates after scoring his late penalty to knock Paris Saint-Germain out
Slovenian referee Damir Skomina points to the penalty spot after a VAR review in Paris
‘For me it was an accident,’ Tuchel said ahead of Tuesday’s French league game at Dijon. ‘I know there have been many accidents over the past years. But it’s the first time with me. We made two individual mistakes, then the referee made a mistake with the VAR.’
PSG, who have spent a huge amount of money over the past five years in an unsuccessful bid to win the Champions League, have found themselves at the receiving end of sharp criticism since the loss to United. Trying to find an explanation for the result, some blamed a culture of losing big games, while PSG defender Presnel Kimpembe said he and his teammates were too complacent.
‘We lost the grit, the rage we had in the first leg,’ he said. ‘We took this game lightly, and it’s something that’ll never happen to me again. It’s enough, never again.
PSG boss Thomas Tuchel says it is the ‘first accident’ he’s experienced as a football manager
The referee watches the VAR monitor to decide whether to award United a late penalty
‘Of course, we’ll lose more games in the Champions League, but losing games like this is over. I don’t want it to happen to us anymore.’
Tuchel said he felt the opposite.
‘I felt my team was more tense than before the first match at Manchester,’ the coach said. ‘My team was too serious during the final training.’
Trying to ease the anger, PSG invited several hundreds of supporters to attend Sunday’s training at the Parc des Princes. The move backfired as PSG players were greeted by insults and jeers.
Rashford fires the ball over the body of Gianluigi Buffon to knock PSG out of the competition
‘The Ultras are sad and angry,’ Tuchel said. ‘Everybody can understand that. But it’s impossible to feel worse than we did.’
Tuchel, who has one year left on his contract, said he wants to stay at the club and help his players improve. He first wants them to react with pride against Dijon, then against Marseille on Sunday. Unlike PSG, Marseille has won the Champions League once, back in 1993.
‘We have the chance to show we can react as champions,’ Tuchel said, with his team poised for a sixth French league title in seven years. ‘We are not on holiday.’