Tuchel set to resume contract talks at PSG

AFP

PSG is 17 points clear of Lille at the top of the table, with two games in hand and a sixth title in seven seasons a virtual formality.

But a dramatic UEFA Champions League exit at the hands of Manchester United has displeased the club's "ultras", who boycotted the Ligue 1 trip to Dijon last time out and could do likewise for Monday's (AEDT) Classique against Marseille at Parc des Princes.

According to French newspaper L'Equipe, exiled midfielder Adrien Rabiot has been suspended from the club until 27 March, having liked a social media post from Patrice Evra criticising PSG and allegedly opting to go out to a nightclub after the United defeat, while star forward Kylian Mbappe has been fined €180,000 ($287,640) for missing a team meeting before the game versus Marseille earlier in the season.

Tuchel penned a two-year deal with PSG last year, with the option of a third season included.

Responding to reports that is set to be taken up, the former Borussia Dortmund boss said: "We discussed an extension of my contract this winter. We did not find any agreement.

"I said that it was not possible to speak between Lyon [a 2-1 defeat on 4 February AEDT] and Marseille because there were many games. We're going to talk quietly about this during the [international] break."

On the prospect of fans shunning one of French football's showpiece fixtures, Tuchel replied: "If our supporters make a strike, I will be very disappointed. It is not deserved.

"There would be no support because of the VAR in the 90th minute? We know that they are disappointed – it is not necessary to show it again and again. We understand. The most disappointed are us.

"Those who say we lack character probably never lost. We showed our character against Napoli, Liverpool, Belgrade, Marseille. It's not true. Players who say that have never won the Champions League."

A PSG side so stridently defended by its coach will again be without key attackers Neymar (foot), Edinson Cavani (hip) and Julian Draxler (hamstring), and Tuchel expects a Marseille attack led by the resurgent Mario Balotelli to present a stern challenge.

"Marseille are in good shape. They have put together good results and gained quality and confidence. It is a difficult game," he added.

"It is necessary to be at our best level. They are dangerous up front with Lucas Ocampos, Balotelli, Florian Thauvin and Valere Germain."