Neymar returning before winter break 'not impossible', says PSG boss Tuchel

3:17 PM GMT 15/12/2020
Neymar, PSG 2020-21
The club's coach is hopeful the Brazilian can make his way back to the pitch in time for a Ligue 1 clash with Lille at the weekend

Paris Saint-Germain boss Thomas Tuchel has insisted that Neymar returning to action before the winter break is "not impossible".

Neymar suffered an ankle sprain during PSG's 1-0 defeat to Lyon at Parc des Princes on Sunday.

It was initially feared that the Brazilian had sustained a fracture after a late tackle from Thiago Mendes, with the mercurial attacker forced to leave the pitch on a stretcher.

The 28-year-old was reduced to tears following the challenge, which earned Mendes a red card, but PSG were able to deliver a positive update on his fitness on Monday.

Neymar reacted to the news by posting a message to his followers on Instagram saying that the injury "could have been worse."

Tuchel is optimistic that the talismanic figure will be available for selection again by the time PSG take in a trip to Stade Pierre Mauroy for a top-of-the-table meeting with Lille on Sunday, but he will definitely not be ready for Wednesday's home fixture against Lorient.

"It's not impossible to see Neymar again before the winter break. Maybe against Lille, we hope," the German head coach told a pre-match press conference.

"We'll do everything for Lille. I can't say yes or no. We must wait to see the results of the last exams tomorrow."

Tuchel went on to address PSG being drawn against Barcelona in the Champions League knockout stages, as he added: "It's a very difficult draw, against a great club, a very big team.

"However, we are in December and it's in February. Now, it's time for Ligue 1 and our goal is to win again. It's too early to discuss that in detail."

Pressed on whether he feels any pressure to deliver a fourth successive Ligue 1 crown at Parc des Princes, Tuchel responded: "We are always the favourite.

"I don't know exactly the ranking, but it's clear that we are the favourites and it will always be like that.

"We lost too many points and it's necessary to progress and win our matches again."

Tuchel concluded by paying tribute to Gerard Houllier - the former PSG, Liverpool and France boss who passed away at the start of the week.

"He was a great source of inspiration for me, somebody with a great humanity. I spoke a lot with him and he was always very kind, humble," he said.

"He was always full of good advice. I was surprised and saddened to learn he had passed away."