New Paris St Germain coach Thomas Tuchel fielded a virtually unrecognisable side in a 5-1 pre-season friendly defeat against Arsenal on Saturday, forced to cope without a raft of players involved in the latter stages of the World Cup until next week.
Largely outclassed by an almost full-strength Premier League side, Tuchel expressed concerns after the Singapore match that the start of the new season may come too soon for recovering players such as Neymar, Edinson Cavani and Kylian Mbappe. “Everybody loves the World Cup and we all want to watch it, but it has a big impact on the start of our season,” Tuchel, who replaced Unai Emery at the helm of the French treble winners in May, told reporters.
“There must be a solution to this in World Cup years, that the season must start later than it does. There is no reason for the league to end in May. We can play until June or July of the next year. Everyone loves the game and we all want to see the best players, but let them rest as they are the guys that are the show — not us coaches. It’s a players’ game and we have to protect them.”
“Right now, we are doing that but it can get complicated during the season and have a big impact. But we want them to be at the World Cup and to play for their country, and they want that as well.”
Paris St Germain play Atletico Madrid in their second match of the Singapore tournament on Monday before a French Super Cup meeting against AS Monaco in Shenzhen next week, ahead of a Ligue 1 opener against Caen on Aug. 12.
Although they start the campaign against a side they are fully expected to beat, Tuchel added that those teams relished facing the bigger sides soon after a World Cup.
“When I was the coach at Mainz in the Bundesliga, a small club in Germany, we always wanted to play the big teams every two years, right after a major tournament, whether it was a World Cup or European Championships,” the 44-year-old said.
“We were prepared with a full squad, sometimes with six weeks behind us and a full pre-season. We were ready to go from the first minute, so strange results can happen at this time of the year.”