Football: Pink-haired Neymar's birthday an unwelcome distraction for PSG coach Tuchel

Paris Saint-Germain's forward Neymar looks on during the French L1 football match between Paris Saint-Germain and Montpellier Herault SC at the Parc des Princes stadium on Feb 1, 2020. PHOTO: AFP

PARIS (REUTERS) - Neymar will celebrate his birthday in a Paris club on Sunday (Feb 2), a "distraction" two days ahead of a Ligue 1 trip to Nantes, according to Paris St-Germain coach Thomas Tuchel.

French sports daily L'Equipe reported that the event would take place in a western Paris club and that the PSG players and a few members of the staff had been invited by the Brazilian, who turns 28 on Wednesday (Feb 5).

"The substitution of Kylian or Ney's birthday are distractions, it gives the impression that we are not serious," the German coach was quoted as saying by L'Equipe.

On Saturday, France striker Kylian Mbappe showed his frustration when he was replaced in the 70th minute of a 5-0 win against nine-man Montpellier.

On Neymar's birthday, Tuchel added: "It gives the impression that we are not 100 per cent focused and professional.

"But things are not either black or white. They become important when we talk about them a lot."

Pablo Sarabia, Angel di Maria, Kylian Mbappe, Layvin Kurzawa and a Daniel Congre own goal put the French champions on 55 points from 22 games. It was far from a perfect evening for PSG, however.

Neymar had an argument with referee Jerome Brisard at the break after being fouled repeatedly.

Montpellier, who had keeper Dimitri Bertaud sent off after 17 minutes with midfielder Joris Chotard also picking up a red card two minutes from time, are fifth on 33 points after being leapfrogged into fourth by Lille, 2-1 winners at Strasbourg.

Nine-man Monaco lost 3-1 at Nimes after taking the lead before Tiemoue Bakayoko and Gelson Martins were sent off in the first half, the latter for pushing referee Mikael Lesage.

At the Parc des Princes, Sarabia put PSG ahead against Montpellier after eight minutes when he curled a fine shot into the top corner.

Nine minutes later the visitors' Bertaud was shown a red card for handball outside his box.

Di Maria doubled the advantage four minutes before the break with a fine chip after being set up by Sarabia and Congre turned a corner into his own net three minutes later.

Mbappe netted his 36th goal at the Parc des Princes in 34 matches in the 57th minute with a cool finish after being played through by Neymar. Fullback Kurzawa rubbed salt in Montpellier's wounds in the 65th with a powerful volley from inside the area.

With the three points in the bag, coach Thomas Tuchel replaced Mbappe with Mauro Icardi and the France striker did little to hide his frustration.

Tuchel reminded him who the boss was, just like he did two months ago when the forward also showed discontent after being substituted.

"I'm the coach, someone needs to decide," he told a news conference. "It's going to stay like this. On sporting matters I'll always be the one who decides. We're not playing tennis but football. You need to have respect for everyone."

Substitute Edinson Cavani thought he had netted his 199th PSG goal in a rare appearance this season, but it was ruled out for offside.

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