Neymar to miss struggling PSG’s trip to Montpellier

PSG’s Neymar gestures after missing a scoring chance during the French League One soccer match between Paris Saint-Germain and Bordeaux at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris, France, Sunday, March 13, 2022. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

(Reuters) – Leaders Paris St Germain will be without Neymar at Montpellier in Ligue 1 on Wednesday with the Brazil forward suffering from “muscle fatigue” as the capital side struggle for form.

PSG have 48 points from 20 games and have seen their advantage dwindle to three points over second-placed RC Lens.

Christophe Galtier’s side have had a mediocre start to 2023, losing their last two away games at Lens and Rennes before being held to a 1-1 draw at home by Stade de Reims on Sunday. They host Bayern Munich in their Champions League last 16 first leg on Feb. 14.

“I have spoken to the squad, we need to get some consistency back in our performances but there are times in a season where it’s more difficult,” Galtier told a news conference on Tuesday.

PSG will also be without midfielder Marco Verratti, who is suspended after picking up a straight red card on Sunday just 14 minutes after coming on as a second-half substitute. “We have to rediscover the right formula in midfield. We need more density and more fluidity,” Galtier explained.

“We need more rigour and (must) make more efforts collectively. We used to do this in the first months of the season. Everyone needs to look into their own performances and what they are doing for the team.”

Against Reims, Kylian Mbappe, Neymar and Lionel Messi started together for the first time this year but barely defended, leaving the team split in two and vulnerable at the back. “We have three incredibly talented offensive players and playing without one of them to be more balanced would be a mistake,” said Galtier.