The Paris Saint Germain boss waxed lyrical over the Argentine’s performance on his return to the Theatre of Dreams
Paris Saint-Germain boss Thomas Tuchel admits he was surprised by the boos Angel Di Maria received during the first leg last-16 win over Manchester United.
The Argentina winger was regularly jeered by the home fans at Old Trafford, who he played in front of for one unhappy season in the 2014-15 campaign having arrived amid much fanfare from Real Madrid.
A beer bottle was even thrown in his direction during the second half, which the 30-year-old used as a prop to mock the supporters.
Di Maria did his part to silence the boo-boys by providing the assist for Presnel Kimpembe’s opener from a corner before laying one on a plate for Kylian Mbappe in PSG’s 2-0 win in the first leg of the Champions League last-16 tie.
And Tuchel praised Di Maria for sticking to his task, while also revealing his surprise over the negative reception he received from the Old Trafford faithful.
“I thought he had a good relationship with the fans. He was a bit nervous and needed to be calmer in the first-half. In the end, he did well,” he said.
“I’m happy that he stayed confident. I’m happy that he stayed always like this, super reliable because he’s always working hard.
“He always gives his best and for that, it’s easy to forgive him when he has not such a good first half, for us.
“I’m very happy. It’s always dangerous with him, with corners, and of course a superb assist for the second goal in the open position and with a perfect pass for Kylian.
“So, a nice comeback for him and I’m very happy for him, and of course he helped us a lot.”
PSG’s victory was even more impressive in the context of the Ligue 1 champions being without Neymar, Edinson Cavani and Thomas Meunier.
And attacking midfielder Julian Draxler believes the team displayed their strength in depth.
“We lost two, three very important players – Thomas, Ney and Cavani – but we knew that we also have other players who can play in a high level and we showed that,” Draxler said.
“Of course, we are even better if Ney and Cavani are there for example, but football isn’t two or three players, it’s the whole team and that’s what we showed.
“We played very well, very seriously and that’s why I think we deserved the win.”
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