Tuchel praises the in-form Di Maria as a ‘gift’ for PSG

BELGRADE, SERBIA - DECEMBER 11: Angel Di Maria of Paris Saint-Germain in action during the UEFA Champions League Group C match between Red Star Belgrade and Paris Saint-Germain at Rajko Mitic Stadium on December 11, 2018 in Belgrade, Serbia. (Photo by Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images)

Thomas Tuchel believes it’s a “gift” to have a player like Angel Di Maria in his squad following his brace in Paris Saint-Germain’s 3-0 Coupe de France win.

Despite the absences of Kylian Mbappe, Neymar and Edinson Cavani, PSG made light work of Dijon FCO on Wednesday night thanks to another standout performance by Di Maria.

The Argentinian winger only took eight minutes to put PSG in front with a wonderful chip before doubling their lead before the break.

Thomas Meunier then completed a 3-0 win for the cup holders with a goal in the 76th-minute to send PSG into the semi-finals.

Speaking after the victory, PSG coach Tuchel singled out match-hero Di Maria for praise and reflected on the importance the former Real Madrid star has on his team.

“Di Maria won the Champions League with Real Madrid, I was watching his matches and he was the decisive player in those matches, the key guy,” said Tuchel, according to Fox Sports.

“I think of the final against Atletico [in 2014] and I was a big fan of their mentality and quality.

“Now he’s my player and, as I’ve said many times, it’s a gift. He shows his quality and mentality every day, he is super reliable.

“He is one of the first to arrive at the training centre every day, he is a top professional with a good state of mind.

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“With him, you can win because he plays to win and to score. Right now, he is very important to us because he has the quality to finish our attacks and score goals. He has the quality and precision with his strike.

“You can see that he feels good, that he has a lot of confidence and that he has scored many important goals and made assists.

“That’s good and it should stay that way. We miss Edi and Neymar [but] Angel is still there.”

PSG will next return to Ligue 1 action on Saturday away to Caen before hosting Manchester United in the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie next Wednesday.

Tuchel’s side hold a 2-0 aggregate lead over the Red Devils.

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