Tuchel backs misfiring Choupo-Moting
Thomas Tuchel has backed Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting despite another difficult evening for the Paris Saint-Germain striker in Wednesday's Coupe de France win over Nantes.
The Cameroon international played from the start in PSG's 3-0 semi-final victory, but failed to find the back of the net.
Since arriving from Stoke City the 30-year-old has only scored twice for the Ligue 1 giants and his latest blank means he has netted just once in his previous 24 matches.
With Edinson Cavani and Neymar sidelined with injury, Choupo-Moting's lack of goals has been even more noticeable, but Tuchel retains faith in the forward.
"It's not easy for Choupo to start the game, to have pressure, to start at PSG," said Tuchel – who substituted the striker after 77 minutes on Wednesday.
"Normally, he's a very important guy when he gets into a game, it's his strength. His strength is to be ready after 60, 70 or 80 minutes, to help defensively, offensively.
"When he plays a lot at the beginning of a game, it's not his strong suit. It is a great pressure to start for the PSG. But he's doing his best, I can tell.
The boss liked what he saw tonight pic.twitter.com/SCcnI3UW9Z— Paris Saint-Germain (@PSG_English) April 3, 2019
"As I say, he is part of this team, he is reliable, he is not injured, he works, works and works, he helped us to get this result, he is part of this group and this group is exceptional."
PSG's victory keeps them on course for a fifth Coupe de France title in a row, although Tuchel knows final opponents Rennes will be no pushovers.
"Rennes played very, very well here at Parc des Princes during the first half, they were an exceptional team," he added.
"It was very, very difficult to play against them, they played very good matches against Arsenal, with a high level, as yesterday [against Lyon], they deserved to win.
"It's never easy to play against them, it's something to prepare for. But I have a lot of confidence in my team and in a final, we're here to win."