Nasser Al-Khelaifi, the Paris Saint-Germain chairman and CEO, as well as the team’s midfielder Marco Verratti, have insisted that it wasn’t Neymar’s absence that led to the goalless draw with Montpellier over the weekend.
Neymar was unable to take part in the game due to an injury to his right toe. However, Al-Khelaifi has said that Neymar’s absence was not the reason for the disappointing result.
“It is not because Neymar was not here that we did not win,” Al-Khelaifi told Canal +. “He is a very important member of the team but there are many reasons for this performance.”
The result means that Monaco are just one point below PSG and Al-Khelaifi said that the team was aware before the match that it was going to be a tough game.
“The players tried everything possible. We cannot win every game. The coach and the staff will re-watch the match to learn from it. We did not really play today. We came here to win the game. We remain motivated and concentrated ahead of Bayern Munich next week. Next Wednesday is the most important thing now.”
Verratti also spoke to the press after the match and said that while the team “may not be as strong” without Neymar, they are “still a great team even when he is not here.”
He went on to say that they will concentrate on preparing for their Champions League match against Bayern Munich and that he is sure that they can do better.
Manager Unai Emery didn’t talk about Neymar’s absence. Rather he praised their opponents for their strong defence. He said the team needed to push more in order to score and said that they will be analysing the game and learning from it.
Meanwhile, the team also denied offering Edinson Cavani €1 million to allow Neymar to take penalties.