PSG coach Thomas Tuchel has tried to play down his very visible spat with Kylian Mbappe during the Ligue 1 leaders' weekend win over Montpellier. AFP/VNA Photo
PARIS — Paris Saint-Germain coach Thomas Tuchel on Monday attempted to play down a touchline spat with Kylian Mbappe which overshadowed the French champions' big weekend win over Montpellier.
"There is nothing personal between him and me. These things happen," said Tuchel after Mbappe reacted angrily to being substituted midway through the second half of PSG's 5-0 victory at the Parc des Princes, with Mauro Icardi taking his place.
"It was between a player who does not want to come off, and a coach who had his reasons for doing something, and who wanted to give a game to players who deserved it."
After Saturday's match, Tuchel admitted that the reaction of Mbappe "doesn't look good" and pointed out that: "This is football, not tennis, and you have to respect everyone."
The 21-year-old World Cup winner, who had scored his 14th league goal of the season in the victory, exchanged words with Tuchel as he came off, and then stormed to his seat on the bench, throwing away a training top in disgust.
Tuchel said he discussed the matter again at training on Sunday, with the player and with Leonardo, the club's sporting director.
"I spoke about it yesterday with Leo, of course, and with the squad, as we generally do. But what I said will remain in the dressing room," added Tuchel, speaking before PSG return to league action on Tuesday away to Nantes.
Returning to the incident, he added: "We had the game wrapped up, and it was a chance to take off Pablo (Sarabia) and Kylian, and put on Mauro and 'Edi' (Cavani), who deserved to get some minutes.
"I know it is hard to accept for some players, but these are sporting matters that they should be able to understand." — AFP