Not having Neymar and Mbappe may have helped PSG - Tuchel

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The German boss claims that not having his stars on hand may have lowered expectations enough to relax his side ahead of the Champions League opener

It's hard to believe that missing three players with the quality of Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani could help a team win a match, but that's exactly the argument Thomas Tuchel made following Paris Saint-Germain's 3-0 mashing of Real Madrid on Wednesday.  

Neymar was serving the first match of a two-game suspension, while Mbappe and Cavani both missed out through injury as the French side got their Champions League campaign off to a flying start.  

Despite having three world-class forwards watching on rather than playing, Tuchel's side rolled. Angel Di Maria haunted his former club with a brace before Thomas Meunier rounded out the scoring in injury time, making easy work of the Spanish giants, who did not register a single shot on target on the night, though they did have two goals called back.  

And Tuchel claimed after the match that his missing stars may have done the rest of the players on his squad a major favour, relaxing the expectations and allowing them to play with a bit more freedom against Los Blancos.  

"Maybe the absence of Cavani, Neymar and Mbappe helped the team," he said at his post-match press conference. "Maybe the pressure was less, because everybody was wondering how we could win without those three players.  

"It can help because we weren't favourites without Neymar, Mbappe and Cavani. It could have taken some of the pressure off the players." 

It's a big claim from the French side's boss, who has now seen his side prove that, even without some of their biggest names, they can pose a real threat to the top teams in Europe.  

The depth of talent should be reassuring for a PSG team that had lost Neymar to injury at the business end of last season and saw their share of struggles with him out.

DI MARIA PSG REAL 

But defender Thiago Silva doesn't think one result, even one as impressive as Wednesday's win over Madrid, is enough to send any kind of message to the rest of the Champions League contenders.  

"This is not a message sent to the other European teams," the defender told RMC Sport after the match.  

"It's true that we have controlled the game well, that we have prepared well, have been effective, strong. And that's what you need to do, even in the league. 

"You have to play like today, with the character, the personality and in the aggressive state." 

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