Paris Saint-Germain manager Thomas Tuchel said it was “necessary” to rest stars Neymar, Edinson Cavani and Kylian Mbappe as Strasbourg stopped them from securing the title at Parc des Princes.
Tuchel’s side needed three points to retain the Ligue 1 title but the visitors struck twice in quick succession as the game finished 2-2.
Neymar, Cavani and Angel Di Maria were absent, while Mbappe was named as a substitute for the game, and Tuchel said it was necessary to “protect his players”.
Speaking to L’Equipe, he said: “I don’t like playing without Neymar, Edi, Di Maria, all the players who can make a difference
“But it was necessary. Kylian felt something in his muscles over the last three games. It’s not always possible to play him.”
Despite the absences, it looked a formality for PSG when Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting got the opening goal after 13 minutes.
However, Strasbourg arrived in the French capital on a high after winning the Coupe de la Ligue final last weekend and following it up with a 4-0 midweek success against Reims, and the visitors rallied.
Thierry Laurey’s team turned the game on its head before half-time with goals from Nuno Da Costa and Anthony Goncalves.
The introduction of Mbappe after an hour saw PSG become much more of a threat and Thilo Kehrer equalised with eight minutes remaining, but the hosts could not find a winning goal and their inevitable coronation was put on hold.
PSG should have regained the lead at 1-1 but an astonishing miss by Choupo-Moting meant it stayed level.
Christopher Nkunku lifted his shot over the advancing goalkeeper and the ball was set to trickle into the net, only for Choupo-Moting to follow it in and stop the ball on the goal line in an attempt to get the final touch and his second goal of the game.
Tuchel said: “I think he’s lacking confidence. He’s not here to start every game but he is at the moment because we have a lot of injuries.
“It’s not his role. He’s a great substitute.
“Today, he was very unhappy. He started well then stopped the ball on the line.
“I don’t know why he did that. You could say it’s Murphy’s law.”
PSG are 20 points clear at the top of the table with eight games left and their next chance to clinch the title will come when they travel to second-placed Lille next weekend.
Laurey was quoted in L’Equipe as saying: “It was a shame to concede to make it 2-2 with eight minutes left to play.
“It was a bit like the Alamo, the saves from Matz Sels were necessary and we prayed a little.
“But regardless of the result, I am very happy with the performance of my players because it’s matches like these which will help them progress.”
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Paris Saint-Germain boss Thomas Tuchel insists his side are calm despite a string of injured players as they prepare to face Strasbourg at the Parc des Princes.
PSG are Ligue 1’s runaway leaders, with a 20-point lead over nearest rivals Lille and could lift the title on Sunday if they record a 10th successive league win and Lille fail to win at Reims.
“We must not think too much,” Tuchel told a press conference reported by psg.fr.
“We must concentrate on the match. I think that Lille can win, they play with lots of confidence and quality.
“We must focus on ourselves, without thinking about the possible consequences of the match.”
As PSG bid for their second successive Ligue 1 title, they will be without a number of key players including Neymar, Edinson Cavani, Moussa Diaby, Marquinhos and Angel Di Maria, while Thomas Meunier will be assessed on Saturday after training.
Tuchel added strike duo Neymar and Cavani had returned to individual training while Di Maria was not 100 per cent ahead of the game.
The German manager added: “Our responsibility will be to win, even if it is difficult to build a team with so many injured players, since we cannot take risks with them. But we are calm.”
Strasbourg are currently in ninth place, seven points off Saint-Etienne in the European qualifying places, but have won only one of their last five matches.
After winning the Coupe de la Ligue final against Guingamp, Strasbourg recorded their first league win since January 26, a convincing 4-0 win over Reims.
Despite missing several of their regulars, Thomas Tuchel’s team came through what was at times a testing encounter at Stadium TFC with an eighth straight league victory.
Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting had sent an early effort over from close range before Marquinhos saw a goal ruled out by the VAR for offside.
Mbappe, however, produced the game’s moment of quality in the 74th minute when he took down a cross from the right to drill a low shot back into the bottom corner.
Toulouse boss Alain Casanova hailed the “extra-terrestrial” talents of Mbappe after the France forward’s brilliant second-half goal.
“It is an extra-terrestrial who makes them win the match, but we managed to cause them problems. (PSG goalkeeper Alphonse) Areola made two miraculous stops,” Casanova told reporters.
“We have to get over the disappointment of missing such a big opportunity.”
It would appear only a matter of time before PSG secure another title, which could come as soon as next weekend with another win over Strasbourg at the Parc des Princes should second-placed Lille fail to beat Reims.
Tuchel, though, wants to take things one step at a time, with little time to recover ahead of the midweek French Cup tie against Nantes.
“After the international break, matches are never easy. There are many matches, trips… the players come back tired. We felt it this week in training,” Tuchel said at a press conference.
“This match is a big obstacle that we overcame with mentality and personality. We played and never let go. It’s good. We stayed calm and confident, which was necessary to win this game.”