PARIS: Paris Saint-Germain coach Unai Emery insists he is not concerned about Neymar’s lifestyle after the Brazilian superstar was photographed at a Paris nightclub in the early hours of Sunday.
“Outside of his work, his football, he can enjoy himself with his friends,” Emery said on Tuesday at a press conference ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League meeting with Celtic at the Parc des Princes.
“In training he is great. He is young, and he also needs to go out, but he is still responsible.”
Neymar was pictured at a nightclub in the Paris suburbs attending a private concert held by the American rapper Tyga. Earlier he had played 90 minutes in PSG’s 4-1 win over Nantes.
The world’s most expensive footballer has suffered a dip in form and there have been concerns about his love of a party, which he documents on his Instagram feed with more than 84 million followers.
But PSG’s Spanish coach added: “He has the responsibility to rest up on Sunday. He was back with us yesterday and for tomorrow he will be fine.”
Neymar has scored in each of PSG’s four Champions League outings as the French club have taken maximum points and qualified for the last 16 with two games to spare.
They top Group B with 17 goals scored and none conceded, and another victory against Celtic — who are already eliminated — could see PSG clinch top spot before they go to Bayern Munich next month.
For Emery, that ensures there is no danger of PSG letting their concentration slip despite a crunch Ligue 1 clash with Monaco looming at the weekend.
They will head to the principality on Sunday knowing a win will see them move nine points clear of the reigning French champions at the top of the table.
“We want to demonstrate that we want to go very far in this competition. We did that when we went there,” added Emery, with reference to PSG’s 5-0 win in Glasgow when the sides met in September.
“Celtic are still a good side, with international players who are used to winning, so this will be a difficult game.”
‘Best of the best’
Belgian full-back Thomas Meunier could return for Paris but Thiago Motta is out. The veteran midfielder has undergone surgery in the United States to clear up a knee problem.
Kylian Mbappe, who scored in Glasgow, will hope to return to the Paris attack after being benched against Nantes with Angel Di Maria preferred to the teenage sensation in that game.
Back-to-back defeats to Bayern confirmed that Celtic would go no further in the competition after the group stage, but the Scottish champions are still well placed to pip Anderlecht to a Europa League spot.
This match raises the age-old question for the Hoops of how they bridge the gap between their utter dominance domestically and their struggles to compete with the best sides on the continent.
Celtic are currently on a British record run of 64 domestic matches unbeaten and could lift more silverware at the weekend when they play Motherwell in the League Cup final.
But their last meeting with PSG saw them suffer their biggest ever home defeat in Europe, and they have only ever won twice away in 29 attempts in the Champions League group stage.
“If we can’t get a result it’s about taking pride in the performance so that’s something we hope we can achieve here,” manager Brendan Rodgers said.
“The players are relaxed but focused. We are playing against a team that is arguably the best of the best. It is a huge challenge for everyone, not just ourselves, so it is a tough ask but for me there’s always optimism.”-AFP