In two weeks time, Manchester United take on PSG in the round of 16 of the Champions League. While this will be a tough task, given the quality of players and manager that the French side have, our chances may have been boosted somewhat with the news that it is unlikely that Neymar will be fit to play.
He injured a metatarasal in his right foot last week and, while it is too early for any conclusive news, it is hard to imagine he will have recovered fully in the next fortnight. Manager Thomas Tuchel hasn’t ruled him out but has cast a doubt over the likelihood of him playing.
It’s going to be very difficult, that is clear. I do not have confirmation of a new diagnosis. As I explained yesterday, it’s too early to talk about a return date. We have to wait for the first week, which is very important, and its reaction to treatment. Only after that can we be more precise, but it’s going to be very difficult [for the United match]. It is not a secret.
United’s next game against PSG is three weeks later which still may be too soon for Neymar. It typically takes six to eight weeks to recover from such an injury.
Some United fans have expressed their disappointment, claiming they want to see us face the very best to test ourselves. Personally, I’ll happily take the easiest route possible to any success. While there’s more pride and excitement involved in playing tough teams every round and facing the best players, I have no problems with it being less challenging if that increases our chances of progressing.
When you look at the teams we had to play in the FA Cup and Europe in 1998-99, like Bayern, Barca, Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Juve, Inter, it’s ridiculous. And it’s brilliant we came through. But we’re so early in to life under Ole that it can’t be viewed as a negative that one of PSG’s biggest threats likely won’t play against us.
Still, with Kylian Mbappe, Edinson Cavani, Angel Di Maria and co., PSG will still cause us more than enough problems. But I’ll keep my fingers crossed that Neymar is one less player for us to worry about.